So my wife and I decided to celebrate our anniversary a few weeks after it actually occurred (hard to get babysitters around here) and I let her pick what to do. She chose to dine at our favorite restaurant Judi's, in Sedona, and then go see a movie. She chose "The Visit". The meal was superb as always, and if you're ever in Sedona, it's a must - the Reuben is amazing, but I always get either the fish and chips or the Bocchi Burger - bacon cheeseburger with fresh grilled green chili slices on it. Yum.
We should have been a bit more tipped off about the clientele that were purchasing tickets to The Visit as we strolled unto the box office - teenagers, especially teenage girls and reluctant parents. It was a matinee showing, so we assumed it was just the time of day. We got our famous Harkins popcorn and heat-quenching refreshments and managed to get a rather central and unobstructed view of the screen. This should have been mother warning for us; we never get good seats at a good movie.
Now, I'm not saying it was a bad movie, but I'm not saying it was good. It revolves around a brother and sister, 13 and 15 respectively, documenting their first visit to estranged grandparents that were deserted by their mother before they were born. The child actors who portrayed the characters were somewhat rigid and overly intellectual for typical teenagers. That battered me. They were too smart for their actual history. But, whatever.
The mother, who after abandoning her parents at a young age, is surprisingly absent as a role model. The children's father had left the three of them a few years ago, creating a single mom dynamic that pulls at your heartstrings. At least it should have.nthe exaggeration of the characters diminishes the story.
The real savior son the film are the grandparents. They are warm and welcoming, and encourage the kids to be themselves - a feature that leaves a bit desired. The house is of course out in the farms of the Midwest, and we approach the scenery in what appears to be either early spring or late fall. Therefore the loneliness tone is established. Now, the real idiosyncrasies of "old people" start to sink in to these young teens as they slowly learn the habits and maladies of age. Humor is best left to the assumptions of these youth, and is executed rather well.
We discover early on that both of these grandparents suffer from age-related disorders, creating discomfort in the unexposed, sheltered teens imagery of age. Just be warned that open adult diapers play a significant role as the tale progresses. The children spend a short week while the mother enjoys a cruise with her boyfriend in their absence. As the week progresses, it evolves from slight documentary to observed horror, as the dementia rolls in, wave after wave.
True to form, M. Night Shyamalan delivers a spectacular twist near the end that shakes the entire foundation of the film to its core. It's still not as brilliant as the twisted Sixth Sense ending, but I feel it is his best since. It hits you unexpectedly and you enjoy the ride until the credits roll. Unfortunately, the slow build up to that point is rife with cheap dialogue, silly jump scares, and a feeling of embarrassment for the elder actors involved.
Is it worth seeing? Yes, but not worth the theater admissions fees (tickets, refreshments, etc...). It would be a good one to watch while you cuddle up with your significant other on a cold, stormy night - and grandparents far from sight.
Wait for Netflix or Redbox, but still see it. It's better than mediocre, but quite good. The audience it caters to is that teenage group, and the humor is specifically directed at them. The teenage girls giggled themselves the entire film, while the older generations sighed at our duped dismay.
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