Deck the halls people! I checked out the new Christmas thriller / horror flick “Better Watch Out” last night as I was beginning to crave me some holiday themed mayhem! I really had no idea just what to expect, but had heard this one had a few twists and turns under it’s belt and of course I love creepy Christmas movies so why the hell not kick off the holiday season with a possible bang. ‘Better Watch Out’ is indeed an interesting movie, especially because it of it’s clever mind game it plays at it’s nasty core. More thriller than horror, with it’s fair share comedy and seemingly lighthearted holiday seasoned set up.
Well, well, well, I must admit I didn’t see this coming! Yeah I’m a bit perplexed myself at just how much I liked M. Night Shyamalan’s new movie “The Visit”!! I am going to go as far to say it’s quite possibly the best horror movie I’ve seen thus far in 2015. Some major contenders were “It Follows”, “The Babadook” and “We Are Still Here” but I’d certainly put The Visit up against any of those. I alway knew Night had it in him somewhere to make a full on horror movie and this time around he certainly went the distance. This is easily the darkest of any film he’s ever done and it proves that he shines on a smaller stage, with a smaller budget. Night should stay far as far away from the summer blockbuster territory as he possibly can. I also think he’s invented a new style of horror flick “Senior Citizen Terror”!!
The Visit is not only a return to form, but it’s also a transformation for the film maker. It show’s in a way that he’s grown up a bit and has become a bit more of a risk taker. He’s willing to scare the shit out of you this time around, pulling no punches like he did previously. I’ve always suspected if he let loose he’d be able to craft something really genuinely scary. You know how most of his movies reach the final act and they get kinda….family friendly? Well this one goes to some dark places and then some. In fact there are some scenes in this movie that you will NEVER be able to erase from your memory. A bold statement for any horror flick but it seems M. Knight was done fucking around this time. The guy has had a quite a string of clunkers under his belt recently and it goes to prove a point, never underestimate a guy who’s down on his luck with nothing really left to lose.
The Visit really shines in it’s simple plot. Two kids go to visit their grandparents which they’ve never met because of a falling out that their mother had with them when she was much younger. So really it’s a bit of a story of trying to forgive and forget the past and hopefully move on. And really, we all can relate to being a little kid staying with grandparents, no matter how sweet they were they always seem a bit odd especially through the eyes of a child. Of course the plot thickens when Granny and Gramps do start acting a bit odd during the daytime really fucking weird when the sun goes down!
This movie has got some great acting as well and the movie’s real stars are definitely the young boy played by Ed Oxenbould and his grandmother played by Deanna Dunagan. The Visit surprisingly also is one of the few modern horror flicks that really puts children in serious fucking danger, which is something you rarely see in this day and age. So kudos to Shyamalan for having the guts to go the distance here. It’s really best if you know as little as possible about this one as it’s packed with surprises and yes….a damn good twist!
Last my only real complaint at all is the found footage route Night decided to go with this. I’ll admit I wasn’t thrilled about the idea going into it all. Seeming at first a little late to the party perhaps, he really does utilize this medium quite well to tell the story. He does it so well with no creepy score that this feels pretty damn realistic when all is said and done. He also blends some great comedy throughout somehow that works leap and bounds better than any movie he’s tried to pull this in before. So final thought, I’d say it’s safe to say M. Night Shyamalan is back. Scarier, bolder and riskier than ever before and I hope this time he’s realized he’s at his best when trying to scare the shit out of us.