Director: M. Night Shyamalan
Cast: Olivia DeJonge, Ed Oxenbould, Deanna Dunagan
Release Date: Available on Blu-Ray & DVD January 5, 2016
A Review By: Kevin Lovell
Film Rating: 7.5/10
Disc Rating: 7.5/10
When Becca and Tyler are sent to their grandparents’ secluded Pennsylvania farmhouse for a weeklong stay, they quickly discover something is not right with the elderly couple. Faced with strange rules and increasingly frightening behavior, the children soon realize it will take all their wits to make it home alive.
When siblings Becca (DeJonge) and Tyler (Oxenbould) initially set out on a trip to a cabin in the middle of nowhere to meet and stay with their grandparents for the first time in their lives, they had no idea what to expect. Intending to document the entire trip, Becca comes prepared with video cameras and her younger brother as an unofficial assistant. When their grandparents begin acting somewhat strangely, they initially accept the logical explanations they provide. When their behavior only continues to increase in its bizarreness, the two begin to fear for their safety and must look out for each other until the conclusion of the trip while also trying to get to the bottom of the mystery.
Written and directed by well known filmmaker M. Night Shyamalan (The Sixth Sense, Unbreakable), Shyamalan delivers one of his best directorial efforts in some time with ‘The Visit’ and he does a fantastic job at the helm guiding his own script in a found-footage manner this time around. The cast includes mostly relatively unknown individuals with a few somewhat familiar faces including Olivia DeJonge (The Sisterhood of Night), Ed Oxenbould(Paper Planes), Deanna Dunagan (TV’s Unforgettable), Peter McRobbie (Netflix’s Daredevil) and Kathryn Hahn (This Is Where I Leave You) all of whom deliver pretty solid performances in each of their respective roles.
After a number of notable and at times brutally criticized hit and misses since his initial career-launching blockbuster ‘The Sixth Sense’, filmmaker M. Night Shyamalan manages to find a fresh and very different type of horror film to pull us into this time around and it comes together and works surprisingly well, delivering some truly creepy and skin crawling moments as well as a surprising amount of humor and laugh out loud moments. Even Shyamalan’s decision to utilize the painfully tired found footage style didn’t drastically affect this clever and incredibly fun film that fans of his previous work as well as genre fans in general will quite likely thoroughly enjoy.
Overall, ‘The Visit’ may not be perfect, nor would I go so far as to say it’s anywhere near Shyamalan’s best film, nonetheless it certainly is an incredibly enjoyable, creepy and well executed film and easily some of his best work in many years. While most folks with the exception of the few diehard fans of Shyamalan’s work might be hesitant on a blind purchase, it’s certainly worth the cost of a rental and I would recommend giving this one a shot when you get the chance, you might be very pleasantly surprised.
The Blu-ray release of ‘The Visit’ features a full 1080p High Definition presentation utilizing the film’s original 1.85:1 Aspect Ratio. The video presentation looks great as a whole, delivering a sharp and detailed presentation throughout, holding up admirably during the darkly lit and fast moving sequences, especially considering the consistently jerky camera movements occurring as a result of the found footage style, never causing anything occurring on screen to become negatively affected or rendered indiscernible at any point. Overall, this is a solid high definition video presentation complimented by a more than sufficient bitrate that should easily please.
The Blu-ray release features a lossless 5.1 channel DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack. This lossless multichannel soundtrack delivers in every way required of it and provides a clean, discrete and at times aggressive audio presentation from start to finish. Utilizing all five available channels to surround the viewer with the wind and other calm and subtle background elements which perfectly accentuate the tension in many scenes, while never resulting in any dialogue which may be occurring simultaneously to become distorted or rendered inaudible. Overall, this is a more than competent 5.1 channel DTS-HD MA soundtrack that shouldn’t disappoint.
The Blu-ray release of ‘The Visit’ includes a few enjoyable extras. Included on the release is an ‘Alternate Ending’ (running approximately 2 minutes in length), along with a number of ‘Deleted Scenes’ (approximately 9 minutes altogether). We are also treated to a behind the scenes Featurette ‘The Making of The Visit’ (approximately 10 minutes) which includes in-depth input about the film from Writer/Director M. Night Shyamalan, behind the scenes footage and more. A photo-reel of sorts titled ‘Becca’s Photos’ is also included.