WARNING: THIS POST CONTAINS SPOILERS FOR THIS MOVIE, INCLUDING THE ENDING SO DON'T READ UNTIL YOU SEEN THE MOVIE!
So, I was excited to hear that M Night Shyamalan was making a new "horror"/"thiller" movie and teaming up with Jason Blum and Blumhouse for this one! Like the rest of the world, I was a HUGE fan of The Sixth Sense and consider it a classic and I really liked Unbreakable and Signs and to a slightly lesser degree The Village. I wasn't a fan of The Happening or The Lady in the Water and haven't seen any of his films since! But I do have to say that I loved Wide Awake back in 1998 before I even knew who M Night was. It's a sweet movie and you should really check it out.
So, when I saw the trailer on Facebook for The Visit, I knew this looked good. And yes, I did liked this movie. Not a classic but it just be the return of M Night to making good movies again that I want to see.
What can be more basic than a movie about grand kids visiting their Grandparents! EVERYONE has memories of visiting their Grandparents.
I only got to know my grandmother on my mother's side ( all the other three grandparents had passed away before I was born) and she was a great health for a senior citizen and was a great cook ( we went their every Sunday for dinner) and an active person. I was Blessed in that sense as many of my friends at school either had grandparents pass away or in Nursing Homes. My grandma didn't get sick until I was an adult.
It's great that a movie like this brings back our own personal memories of our family, even a movie about when things go horribly wrong!
THE SET-UP: So, if you saw the trailer , you pretty know what this movie is about because the trailer showed almost every gag and plot point of this movie!
15 year old Becca and 13 year old Tyler get put on a train to go visit Nana and Pop-Pop , the parents of the kid's mother. Never mind they haven't spoken in 15 years because after high school, the mother hooked up with and got married to a substitute teacher and had 2 kids. There was a fight about something and she left and they spoke again. After all these years, she doesn't care about them at all and has no interest in seeing or talking to them.
I found the mother to be a little ditzy and making bad parenting choices. So, out of the blue, the grandparents look her up and ask( over facebook or email, they never speak on the phone) if the grand kids can spend a week at their house in rural Pennsylvania during the kid's winter break from school. Not only does mom say sure, she goes a cruise with her new boyfriend, who seems pretty weird and goofy himself.
Should be noted, dad left the family years ago and moved to California and no one has heard from him since.
Olivia DeJonge and Ed Oxenbould play Becca and Tyler and amazingly they look like they really are brother and sister.
Becca decides to film this adventure as a documentary. She gives Tyler an old camera so we can get his point of view too.
Her movie starts off pretty basic from the car ride to the train station to the train ride itself and meeting Nana and Pop-Pop for the first time and going to the farm house , Tyler unpacking his clothes, etc. A little boring but it's what a teenage documentary would be like.
The most interesting part of the documentary is when the kids interview each other and we learn both have some issues they deal with ever since their dad left.
Becca can't look at herself in a mirror, even to brush her hair or teeth due to her feelings of worthlessness.
Tyler has become a bit of a germophobe when it comes to bathrooms. He freaks out at one point when he can't find any more tissues and thinks he has something on his hands after using the bathroom.
Tyler says it doesnt bother him that dad left but after some questions from Becca, we learn Tyler feels a bit of a disappointment because, at 8, he froze up during a football game and didn't tackle a player and shortly after, dad left.
Ed Oxenbould ( last seen in last year's Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, which for a kid's movie was pretty good and funny) does steal the show as Tyler. His your typical white suburban 13 year old into rap music and making rap videos on Youtube.
They really could of ruined this character easily and turned him into a clown but I think the character is pretty real and they did a good job with it. I didn't hate him and wasn't annoyed with him so that's a plus. His reactions to Nana and Pop Pop are great and the bit where instead of swearing , he uses female pop singer's names was cute but wasn't too annoying. Tyler really saves the movie in a way and everyone in my theater was into the character and laughing along with him.
NANA AND POP POP:
The REAL stars of the movie are Nana and Pop Pop. Ever since I saw the trailer I was wondering what is wrong with them. Is it Dementia and Alzheimer's or are they going for a Supernatural evil influence (I'm glad they didn't) ?
They are obviously going for the "old people are creepy" vibe. Let's face it, our society doesn't really like old people all that much. We get annoyed with them very easily and once, sick and fragile we want to ship them off the Nursing Home.
I think we are all SUBCONSCIOUSLY threatened by old people because it reminds us that one day we won't as young and active and will get old, sick and die! My mother passed away 2 years ago from Breast Cancer so , besides a brother that is still living, all the immediate members of my family (parents, grandparents and an aunt) that had a hand in raising me have passed on.
All seems well at first as Nana and Pop Pop pick the kids up at the train station and they do seem like your normal grandparents.
Nana and Pop Pop interact well with the kids, learn what it's like to be a kid in 2015 and cook the traditional family dinner! Looks tasty
And most importantly, the kids get to see and stay in the house that their mom grew up in. See the same Grandfather clock their mom has talked about and play in the same rope swing in the front yard that mom played in as a girl. That is important for kids.
Bedtime is 9:30 and don't go in the basement because of the dangerous mold that is down there are just a few of the rules. Seems like normal grandparent rules at first but things start to get very strange and creepy at night.
Pop Pop explains that Nana suffers from Sun downers Syndrome (a person with dementia who becomes increasingly irritable or difficult as the day progresses or at night.)
Speaking personally, seeing old people suffer from Dementia is a very sad thing and my heart goes out to all who suffer from this horrible disease and the families that have to care for them.
I had both a grandmother and my mother suffer from it in their last months and spent the last 13 years caring for them respectfully and I used to volunteer in a hospice where i saw lots of Dementia patients. While none were quite like Nana, you could tell something like that could of happened at any moment and I'm sure there are many patients that are exactly like Nana!
So, I'm sensitive about this issue and really do really felt bad for Nana! Besides the night time scenes, she has some classic daytime dementia moments as well. From sitting in the corner in a rocking chair laughing , scaring the crap out of the kids playing hide and seek with them under the house and , as we all saw in the trailer, getting Becca to crawl inside the oven to clean it.
This is one of my greatest fears of old age, that I'll lose my mind and turn into this.
As for Pop Pop, at he first he seems to be a good man and have his wits about him. He's just a simple country man caring for his wife who is showing signs of dementia , right?
But we soon suspect that there might be something wrong with Pop Pop as well.
While in town with the kids, showing off the high school where their mom went to school, Pop Pop thinks guy a is following them and attacks him. So Pop Pop is Paranoid delusional? That makes him dangerous, right?
Tyler, already suspicious from the time he walked in the barn and saw Pop Pop with a barrel of a shotgun in his mouth among other things, also notices Pop Pop goes to the shed often and decides to check it out.
This picture isn't from the movie..found the picture online but you get the idea!
For a germophobe like Tyler, finding a shed full of Pop Pop's very dirty diapers had to suck! This scene got loud "EWWWWWWWW" 's from the kids in the audience. I'm sure a lot parents had to answer questions about Incontinence and why adults wear diapers on the ride home!
Of course being incontinent doesn't make you crazy . While most common in the elderly , anyone can be incontinent , from older kids and teens to young adults. My own grandmother and later on my mother, before they both passed on, needed adult diapers so the sight of diapers didn't really freak me out, and lets face it, most reading this right now will need adult diapers later on in life.
I also had a bedwetting problem as a kid and once in awhile, for whatever reason, I'll still wake up and find that I had wet the bed so ya, I understand the issue more than most do.
But yes, It's super gross just to throw all your dirty diapers in a shed but I've seen much grosser things than that on Hoarders so we know that there are people like this! One sad sign of old age if letting yourself go , poor personal Hygiene and not cleaning and taking care of your house like you used too and doing some pretty disgusting things that they never did before.
THE TWIST ENDING: Every Shyamalan movie has a twist and this one was pretty basic..turns out Nana and Pop Pop aren't NOT the kids real grandparents (the real grandparents are dead in the basement) but escaped Mental Patients from the local Psychiatric hospital that the kids real grandparents and Tyler and Becca find that out while on video chat with mom when they show her Nana and Pop Pop outside the window and mom says it isn't them.
This is where the movie begins to get weak and fall apart a bit! I would of thought that Mom would of really freaked out more hearing her kids were staying with dangerous strangers. And what kind of Police Department, even in rural PA, is unreachable with only an answering machine? How about you call the State Police or the FBI then, mom?
And what's with the kids NOT running away into town or a neighbor's house right away? They just stay there for whatever reason?! I sure as hell wouldn't!
And what was with the whole neighbor lady showing up and then getting killed? Who the hell was she? And what was with the whole Well plot? I'll need to re watch this to figure that out as Pop Pop does bring up later.
The Shit hits the fan (yes, i needed to use that pun) when night falls and Pop Pop decides everyone needs a Family Game Night of playing YAHTZEE! Things don't go well when Pop Pop shits his diaper and Nana goes Psycho on us!
Becca goes to the basement to find out what's going on and finds her dead grandparents and Pop Pop explains Nana had killed her own two kids and dumped the bodies years ago so when the real grandparents were bragging about Tyler and Becca coming to town and how happy they were, a jealous rage overtook Pop Pop and Nana and what happened happened!
The ending is pretty basic and features the kids overcoming their psychological hangups( think back to the stories they told earlier)
Nana attacks Becca in a dark upstairs bedroom and Becca has to look in mirror to try to find Nana and eventually kills Nana with a shard of a broken mirror.
Tyler meanwhile is left downstairs with Pop Pop and freezes in fear as something really bad happens to him
Found this on Youtube! The real scene in the movie got the loudest "EWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW"'s from the kids in the theater. I wasn't expecting a scene like this so I found it pretty effective and enjoyed it.
Tyler gets over his frozen fears and goes psycho and beats Pop Pop to death as Mom and the cops show up. and that's the movie, expect for a very funny rap by Tyler at the end!
FINAL VERDICT: The movie wasn't perfect but I enjoyed it! Ed Oxenbould's comedic performance as Tyler really saved this movie from sucking and had myself and the theater laughing!
I'd give it 5 out of 10 dirty diapers!
And remember kids, shit doesn't taste like chicken!