Welcome Back, M. Night Shyamalan
Critics find it's worth the 'Visit' to Nana's house
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 11, 2015 11:40 AM CDT

(Newser) – Two kids go on their first visit to Nana and Pop Pop's house to find out—and document via video cameras—what led to a family estrangement 15 years earlier in The Visit. They end up uncovering more than expected, including what goes bump in the night. Here's what critics are saying about M. Night Shyamalan's latest:

  • "I smell a comeback," writes Brad Wheeler of Shyamalan, who has lately been accustomed to winning Razzies. The Visit is "a genuinely fun affair ... with the smirking air of a confidant and mischievous filmmaker," Wheeler writes at the Globe and Mail. Deanna Dunagan and Peter McRobbie as Nana and Pop Pop "are excellent at creepy," and that creepiness culminates in a solid twist, though he notes "the ultimate resolution has a bit of 'that’s it?' tidiness to it."
  • "Despite plenty of familiar moments, The Visit still has surprises—including the traditional Shyamalan third-act fake-out," writes Stephen Whitty at the Star-Ledger. "The real shock, though, is how brightly he's rekindled his talent." Making a movie with five actors and no big special effects is risky, but "all of it works" as "Shyamalan exploits our secret fears ... of old age, ill health and dementia." Whitty says this is his "best movie since Signs—maybe since The Sixth Sense."

  • Steven Rea at the Philadelphia Inquirer isn't quite so on board. This "isn't The Sixth Sense. It's not even Signs," he says. Sure, it "marks something of a return to form for Shyamalan" after big-budget duds The Last Airbender and Another Earth. But "isn't the whole handheld 'real-video' thing kind of old by now? Isn't the Shyamalanian-twist thing kind of old by now, too?"
  • Peter Hall at the New York Daily News agrees "the biggest frustration here is the found-footage style." But this is "crowd-pleasing horror, the kind that can push moviegoers to the edge of their seats and send them to the water cooler the next day." The flick "often nails the sweet spot between scaring us and letting us laugh at how scared we are." Viewers, he says, get ready "for a wheelchair ride straight to crazy town."