Gut Reaction: A Spoiler-Free Interview on THE VISIT

Posted: September 11, 2015 by Blaine Grimes in Uncategorized

MV5BMTg3OTM2OTc5MV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwMjMxNDM0NTE@._V1__SX1394_SY669_Last night I attended the premiere screening of M. Night Shyamalan’s The Visit. Today, John and I sat down (at our keyboards) for a spoiler-free interview on my gut reaction to the film. I’ll be writing a more thorough review for Reel World Theology soon, so stay tuned over there for further developments.

 

John Perritt: First off, what’s your favorite Shyamalan film?

 

Blaine Grimes: I’m really terrible at naming my favorite films, but I’m gonna have to go with Unbreakable. It’s a really smart take on the superhero movie.

 

JP: What’s your initial impression of The Visit? What did you like? What did you hate?

 

BG: I really disliked The Visit. I think it is definitely one of his weaker films, which is sad; I really wanted it to be good. There are a couple of elements that work really well in the film, though. First, Ed Oxenbould is fantastic. His character is hilarious, and the film’s best moments happen when he is on screen. Second, there are parts of this film that are genuinely spooky, but it’s really difficult to talk about those without spoiling. So I’ll leave it there for now.

I think the main problem with The Visit is that it doesn’t know what it wants to be. It tries to be a comedy-horror-melodrama, but these elements never mesh together in an effective way. There are also several dangling plot devices that are quite annoying.

 

JP: Could you tell you were watching a Shyamalan film? Were many of his previous stylistic/thematic elements present?

 

BG: Well, this certainly isn’t his first terrible film; so some of his recurring issues made an appearance. For instance, I think The Visit lacks some of the Hitchcockian subtlety of his better films. On the other hand, he’s still exploring some of his favorite themes here: family, forgiveness, loss, and grief.

 

JP: How did it differ from his other work?

 

BG: The main way it differs is that I’ve never seen him intentionally play with comedy to this extent. I mean, The Happening is a hilarious movie, but it’s not intended as such. The Visit has some real laugh-out-loud moments. I also think it’s different from his previous work in that I’ve never seen one of his films that is so tonally confused (see earlier question).

 

JP: How would you “fix” the film?

 

BG: That’s a hard question to answer without giving too much away, but I’ll take a stab at it. Really, not much happens in the film. The build is lackluster, and the so-called twist isn’t much of one. I think Shyamalan is trying to play with the idea that normal, everyday life can be frightening, but the bodily humor that is so prevalent throughout the film is a hindrance as far as that goes.

 

JP: Do you think The Visit will help or hurt Shyamalan’s career?

 

BG: Well, there are two parts to my answer. In the short-term, I actually think this film will be fairly successful. I think it’ll find its target audience, and it will probably do quite well at the box office. This will likely lead to more movie deals for Shyamalan. As far as the long-term goes, that remains to be seen; but I will be very surprised if it’s looked upon favorably in the distant future.

 

 

 

 

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