Night Revisited

M. Night Shyamalan. The name in Hollywood that most everyone has a stance on. Fallen talent? Or a hack who has never been good? For about ten years now, he's had failure after failure and has pretty much become the punchline to many a joke. A name that used to bring collective awes to audiences when a trailer debuted, now usually brings groans and eye rolls. But the whisperings of late are that the dark times may have ended.  In May, he directed the pilot episode of the surprisingly well-liked television show Wayward Pines, and now he's out with a new movie he wrote and directed called The Visit. Early reviews suggested this was his best work in a decade, while other reviews that have come out seem more mixed...with a leaning on the negative side. I saw the film at a screening on Tuesday and I really wasn't sure what to think!

I loved The Sixth Sense and the three films Shyamalan wrote and directed after (yes, even Signs and The Village haters,) so even though he's made some truly terrible films since those hits, I'm always rooting for him to make a comeback. I went into The Visit desperately hoping that this might be it, but also trying to keep my expectations low. This didn't end up being too hard a feat when once the movie began, those expectations immediately plummeted. For the first 40 minutes or so, I was pretty sure this movie was terrible. It takes a loooong time for this movie to click into place, and unfortunately for some viewers, they might have already made up their mind about it by the time it does. There's no way around it...the beginning is kind of clunky, as you're not really sure whether or not you're gonna be able to stand the two protagonists for the course of the film or if you can buy the premise. I had my arms firmly crossed and was rolling my eyes left and right. It looked like we had another dud on our hands.

But then.... at some point in the movie (I can't even pinpoint when,) something changed. I relaxed, sat back and started to enjoy what was going on. I laughed at the absurdity and tensed up during the spooks. This movie is kind of asinine....but there's something highly enjoyable about that! It's not quite Drag Me to Hell levels of insane, but it has a couple of moments that come close! The outrageousness is why it ends up being an enjoyable horror-com after it's rocky beginning and why it works for me... but that same quality will definitely alienate those who don't wish to be in on the joke. Many will roll their eyes and proclaim the film "stupid" without trying to understand the fact that it's totally trying to be. They won't bother to ask why it's trying to be, they'll just brush it off...but they'll be missing out.

The shock factor (in both horror and comedy elements,) isn't the only thing I found to be enjoyable though. The further you go along, the more you do start to warm up to the characters and see the type of scenes that endeared you to Shyamalan in the first place. He earns some really nice character moments that in other films by other directors can often come out cheap. The Visit is no home run, and I certainly wouldn't declare it "Shyamalan's comeback," but rather, it serves as a reminder that this man was once a great talent and he might still have a few tricks up his sleeve just yet. EMILY RATING: 7/10.

Edit: And if that's not enough of my opinion on The Visit, check out my thoughts on the following two podcasts, my usual War Machine vs. War Horse and my long awaited guest stint on my buddy Kent's podcast Baconsale.

War Machine vs. War Horse



Sarah said...

Well, I thought the preview was entertaining. I will have to check out this movie sometime soon.

Johanna said...

I'm always hoping that he comes out on top.