M. Night Shyamalan’s self-funded (five million dollar) mockumentary, The Visit, is a strange brew of humour and creepiness that seems to be intended for the teen market. Shyamalan has said that he recommends the youngest viewer be fourteen or above; I recommend the eldest being seventeen or below.
Australian child actors Olivia DeJonge and Ed Oxenbould play two (American) kids who go to stay with their grandparents whom they’ve never met. Trouble is, the grandparents are creepy, and as the kids discover more about them, the more they start to fear all sorts of terrible things.
The film is heavily padded and really lags, like a short story stretched to novella length. DeJonge and Oxenbould are both great (they are in every single scene, as the film is shot as though by them – it’s supposedly a documentary being directed by DeJonge’s character) but neither Deanna Dunagan nor Peter McRobbie are nearly scary enough as the grandparents. The film isn’t scary enough, and its uneasy blend of comedy and horror is jarring.
It could be that I’m simply the wrong audience; perhaps Night has crafted a perfect, safe little horror flick for teens. But as adult entertainment, it’s not worth visiting.