The Visit: The Funny M. Night Shyamalan

The Visit: The Funny M. Night Shyamalan

Lauren PesinTuesday,15 September 2015

Since 1999, I’ve been maintaining high hopes and best wishes that M. Night Shyamalan would somehow birth another film as haunting, suspenseful, and full of thrills as the award-winning “The Sixth Sense.” For me, the unique perspective of M. Night with only a few exceptions has ended in tragedy. I’ve enjoyed bits and pieces of each of his movies, but, for the most part, I haven’t enjoyed his movies in their entirety.

For example, I really thought the story and most of the movie “Signs” was excellent and full of suspense. Need I remind anyone of the cups of water, the green aliens, or the emotional scenes of Mel Gibson’s dying wife pinned to a tree or the kids, Mel, and Joaquin teary eyed and fighting for survival. This was before I knew how insane Mel is. Mel was so good. It’s too bad the end of “Signs” was stupid.

Then, in “The Village” I really hoped Joaquin Phoenix and the “creatures” would scratch my itch for chills. Boy was I disappointed. What a waste of time. Damn your twists M. Night!

Most M. Night movies including “The Village,” “Signs,” “The Happening” and “Lady in the Water” made me mad at myself for falling for his trickery over and over again. Each movie ended with the same question: WTF? I can’t ever get those hours back.

I did appreciate “The Sixth Sense.” I’m admittedly one of the few people (over the age of 8 as my husband likes to remind me) who liked “The Last Airbender.” I still have high hopes for M. Night, which is what led to me see “The Visit.” I even saw it on opening weekend in an actual movie theater, on the big screen, with buttery popcorn, an enormous fountain soda, and your random gratuitous rude ass, hyper-excited, and cartoonishly dimwitted movie talker.

In the words of my co-viewer, “Is M. Night regressing? While a decent enough film, this seems like a first directorial outing versus the 11th film by a seasoned veteran that shocked us all in 1999 with the breakout, “The Sixth Sense.”

Instead of “decent enough,” I think “The Visit” was actually surprisingly good (3.5 stars) for between good and super good.

I know it’s shocking for anyone who has followed the generally interesting but typically bipolar and ultimately disappointing films of M. Night. It’s true. M. Night Shyamalan made an honestly enjoyable movie, consisting of a good plot, good acting, and a twist that made sense and added to the enjoyment of the film. “The Visit” included moments of disgusting and disturbing old people subject matter, including incontinence, dementia, and naked old people parts.

The reasons why “The Visit” is good were not expected. The moments of suspense, repulsion, and curious behavior supported the best parts which were (by far) the funny parts (of which there were several); the odd actions of the elderly, funny comments of the young, unforgettable lyrics and very amusing child rapping from the soon-to-be-famous “T-Diamond Stylus.”

Perhaps others already knew about this funny side of M. Night. For me, it was a surprise. For someone who’s been known for the past ten years to drop the ball in the end, my question is, “Did M. Night intend for The Visit to be funny or did the film just end up that way?”

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