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MORTAL ENGINES (December 8, 2018)

Thursday, 1 November 2018

Horror On TV: The Visit (2015)


With their mum, Loretta (Kathryn Hahn), off on a cruise with her new boyfriend, two teenagers go to spend a week with their previously estranged grandparents, who they've never met.

Loretta hasn't spoken to her parents in 15 years, since she ran off with an older man they objected to, and so aspiring filmmaker 15-year-old Becca (Olivia DeJonge), assisted by her 13-year-old brother and wannabe rapper, Tyler (Ed Oxenbould), want to document their trip as a way of reuniting parents and daughter.

Nana (Deanna Dunagan) and Pop Pop (Peter McRobbie) live on an isolated farm outside a small town and, at first, everything seems to go okay, but quite quickly the kids begin to realise something is wrong with their grandparents.

Becca puts it down to old age, but Tyler is convinced there's something more insidious about their strange - and often menacing - behaviour.

Turns out they're not wrong...

Being an M. Night Shyamalan film you will find yourself, if not immediately, then eventually, trying to second guess the plot and suss out the twist The Visit is clearly building towards.

And, to be fair to the writer/director, the clues are quite heavily signposted, so it's not as if the big reveal suddenly leaps unexpectedly out of left field.

The big problem I had was, for a large part of its hour-and-a-half duration, it's a hard watch. It's shot entirely from the point of view of the kids' DIY documentarian efforts, which mean shaky, handheld footage mixed in with static camera shots while people are moving all around the scene.

I'm not sure if it was that that gave me a headache or 13-year-old Tyler's rapping (really, really could have done with that!).

Thankfully, despite what the first 10 or so minutes might suggest, Tyler's rap aspirations don't form a big part of The Visit, but just enough that had a giant monster suddenly appeared and devoured him whole I wouldn't have shed a tear.

Teenager rapper aside, The Visit would have been even more unnerving and a lot more engaging without the whole handheld camera aspect. This gives it the feel of a bargain basement, direct-to-VHS found footage effort.

Part of the Film Fear season, I'm glad I didn't make any effort to see this at the cinema or on home video.

But on the other hand, now that M. Night is coming back into favour because of his exceptional work on his "comic book trilogy" (Unbreakable, Split, and Glass), I'm pleased to be filling in the gaps in his résumé that I skipped after I found his earlier work just wasn't connecting with me.

Who knows, perhaps one day I will find the intestinal fortitude to finally watch The Happening...

2 comments:

  1. Never. Ever. Watch the Happening! Still one of my weirdest cinema moments when two-thirds of the cinema audience stood up as one and left the screening at an earlyish point in the film when they knew this would be one of life's biggest regrets if they stayed a moment longer

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Clearly you've blanked our uni trip to see Portrait Of A Lady, when everyone in the cinema walked out - except you ("I've paid my money, I'm getting my money's worth")!!!

      If The Happening pops up on TV I'll watch it, but I'm not going out my way to track it down. Sometimes you need to see bad films so you can better appreciate the good ones (Remember just how many Camp Blood sequels we endured the other month!)

      Delete

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MORTAL ENGINES (December 8)

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