‘The Visit’ is a Scary Good Return to Form for M. Night

There are a few things I never thought I would see in my lifetime. I never thought I would ever see, for example, what Pluto actually looks like or see a living giant squid or another competent M. Night Shamalyan movie.

You remember M. Night, right? The dude is still out there getting work despite the fact that he had dropped more stinkers than a diuretic elephant and, after sitting through rivers of pure liquid sewage with his name on it, even I had lost hope that M. Night would ever produce anything of quality again.

This upset me because, as I said, I don’t hate the guy. He started out making amazing movies and has a singular talent a directing a scene. This is a guy that I was rooting for. Through The Village, The Happening, Lady in the Water, and yes, even as he wiped his bottom all over The Last Airbender, I wanted M. Night to return to greatness.

The Visit isn’t exactly greatness, but I’ll be darned if it’s not a competent effort and a rewarding movie to sit through. More importantly, it shows what I’ve been saying for years: M. Night Shamalyan is still capable of making good movies and movies that are actually funny.

You know…

On purpose.

The Visit is a found footage movie that follows two children, a boy and a girl – one is an aspiring filmmaker and the other is an aspiring rapper, as they visit their grandparents for the first time. It seems that their mother has been estranged from them for a long time and, as the mother goes off on a vacation, the kids and the grandparents see a perfect opportunity to get to know each other and, for a while, the visit is a pleasant one until the grandparent’s strange behavior becomes stranger and more alarming with each passing night.

I view this movie as a joke and I mean that in the best possible way. The movie takes about an hour setting up the joke and then delivers the punchline in the most amazing way possible. I’m not going to ruin that punchline because it’s a good one and you will probably see it coming no matter what, but when it arrives, it’s hilarious.

While not perfect, The Visit is a better than average horror comedy and the sooner you begin seeing it as a horror comedy, the more fun you’ll have with it. It’s also one of the few found footage movies that manages to actual justify its own existence by having the characters have a real reason to film every little thing which, to me, is becoming important in this imperfect genre.

At the very least, this can be seen as a glimmer of hope for M. Night to salvage his career and reputation. I’ve always secretly rooted for this guy… now I feel like I finally have a reason to.

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