The young mother ( Kathryn Hahn ) has been at odds with her parents for many years and has not spoken a word to each other. She is correspondingly tense when her children Rebecca ( Olivia DeJonge ) and Tyler ( Ed Oxenbould ) want to go to their place for a week. However, they are fired up, not only dying to see their grandparents for the first time but also determined to capture everything on camera to further the reconciliation of the two parties. And everything is wonderful at first, too, Grandma ( Deanna Dunagan ) and Grandpa ( Peter McRobbie) are charming people, even if they haven’t necessarily arrived in the modern age. But as time goes by, Rebecca and Tyler start to get weirder. Why, for example, are they not allowed to leave their room after 9:30 p.m.? And why are some places taboo for children?
What was not speculated in advance, was whether M. Night Shyamalan would find his way back to his old strength after various commercial and artistic failures with The Visit. After all, he’s paying a visit to horror films again, the genre that once made him one of the most acclaimed young directors with The Sixth Sense. And in terms of budget, too, he said goodbye to his great ambitions, which he still had with The Legend of Aang and After Earth showed that instead of 130-150 million dollars, his new one costs only 5 million. In the genre, that doesn’t have to be a shortcoming, because money can only buy part of the excitement and atmosphere, often what keeps you in suspense is what isn’t shown – a blessing for the wallets of the film studios.
Unfortunately, The Visit is also an extremely cheap film in other respects. Even the beginning makes you cringe when the dead-footed principle is to be used again to tell the story. Tablet video chats are used for recapitulation, interviews are conducted with the camera they have brought with them, and sometimes they are only supposed to serve unusual perspectives. Now in 2015, you have to give good reasons why you still use the stylistic device that has become so popular through The Blair Witch Project and Paranormal Activity, a content or visual justification.