M. Night Shyamalan is back and he is out to let everyone know that he hasn't lost his touch when it comes to freaking audiences out. Sure, he's hit a couple of snags (Lady In The Water, The Happening, After Earth) since he set the bar high for himself with The Sixth Sense, but now he has The Visit — and everything you have heard about it is 100 percent true. You'll be sitting at the edge of your seat, thrilled to finally have a great project from the director that will make you jump out of your skin — especially when you get to the ending of The Visit, which, per usual for Shyamalan, contains a massive twist (spoilers ahead!)
The movie goes back to a style of storytelling that made fans fall in love with Shyamalan in the first place. There's suspense, insane moments that will make you squirm, and unnerving moments that will make you jump. But the best part of The Visit is the big twist ending that makes it an instant Shyamalan classic. But before you get to the very end, some background: using a found footage approach (that actually works, for once), the movie follows young documentarian Becca (Olivia DeJonge) and her germaphobe/rapping brother Tyler (Ed Oxenbould) as they visit their Nana (Deanna Dunagan) and Pop Pop (Peter McRobbie), who they soon discover are not your normal set of grandparents.
On a trip to the kitchen for a late night snack, Becca sees Nana walking aimlessly and vomiting. When she questions her grandfather the next day, he insists that Nana had a stomach bug and wasn't feeling well. Becca shrugs it off, but in the next couple of days and nights more crazy things start to happen: Nana running crazily around the house, creepy noises, clawing at the house. There are hints that more is wrong — at one point, a doctor from the mental hospital the grandparents volunteer at stops by to check on them and wonders why they haven't been coming in for the scheduled shifts — but it takes a Skype session with the kids' mom for the really crazy stuff to begin.
Here's where the trademark Shyamalan material starts: when the kids show their mom the grandparents over Skype, the mom quickly realizes that Nana and Pop-Pop are not her parents. They are crazy people posing as Nana and Pop Pop, and so she immediately leaves home to go rescue her kids. Yet in the meantime, Becca finds the dead bodies of her real grandparents, a bloody hammer, and uniforms from the local mental hospital they volunteer at in the basement. When you put two and two together, you realize that the imposters escaped from the mental hospital and killed the grandparents in order to assume their identities and live a "normal" family life.
Fake Pop Pop catches Becca and locks her in a room with fake Nana, who at this point is full-out insane. Meanwhile, the fake grandfather tortures Tyler in the kitchen... with one of his adult diapers. It isn't a pretty sight. There is a violent scuffle in the dark between fake Nana and Becca, which ends with Nana stabbed to death by a mirror shard. Becca breaks out of the room to save her brother, but gets knocked down. Yet Tyler finds enough adrenaline to tackle fake Pop Pop to the ground and bash him to death with the refrigerator door. At the end of it all, they run outside to conveniently find the police and their mom there to rescue them.
The epilogue is the same shot as the beginning of the movie: Becca, interviewing her mom on camera, and opening up about her childhood. The movie ends on a light note, with Tyler rapping through the end credits — but that doesn't mean that some of these horrifying scenes won't be burned into your memory forever.
Image: Universal Pictures