Four Stars or Less – ‘The Visit’: A good start to the horror season

Shane Freeman

Shane Freeman

The horror movie season typically doesn’t start until October, but that hasn’t been the norm lately. “The Visit” should be considered the first entry in the horror movie season of 2015, and it sure sets the bar for succeeding entries.

The director, M. Night Shyamalan, has been a massive disappointment for the last 10 years, giving us failures like “After Earth” and “The Last Airbender.” “The Visit,” however, shows Shyamalan going back to his filmmaking roots. He uses a found-footage style horror film on a shoestring budget. I haven’t been excited for any of his films for years and felt more intrigue than excitement going into this one.

This film brings nothing new to the horror genre, but it highlights the key elements needed for a good horror film. Going with the found-footage style is tough because most films in that style aren’t successful, but Shyamalan makes it work through details in the plot. 

In the film, the main characters Becca and Tyler visit their grandparents, whom they don’t know much about. They are then given three simple rules: 1. Have a great time, 2. Eat as much as you want, and 3. Don’t ever leave your room after 9:30 p.m. 

Although the plot is generic, it remains interesting and capable of keeping the viewer’s attention. The scares weren’t really as scary as much as they were creepy, and the major plot twists will leave most viewers surprised. However, Shyamalan’s jump scares could be improved. They could have been successful, but characters made a joke at the wrong time and ruined the moment.

Again, this film brings nothing new to the table, but it excels at making the best of what it has. The grandparents are intensely creepy, and the story is decent enough to keep the viewer hooked. The film fails, though, in its ill-timed comedic moments. Still, I would say it’s the best movie currently playing from the past three weeks. The experience in the theater was fun, so I recommend it to anyone on the way to the movies.

My Score: 3/4