Summary: Young filmmaker Becca (Olivia DeJonge) and her wannabe rapper brother Tyler (Ben Oxenbould) decide to visit their Nana (Deanna Dunagan) and Pop Pop (Peter McRobbie) for the first time when their mother (Kathryn Hahn) decides to take some time out and go on a cruise.
At first the pair are excited about their visit and Becca decides that the trip would make a good subject for a documentary. However, things start to become creepy for the two when their grandparents start acting strange and they are forbidden to leave their bedrooms after bedtime. Is something sinister occurring?
Australian Cinema Release Date: 24th September 2015
There is no doubt about it the once promising career of filmmaker M. Night Shyamalan is on the rocks. He burst onto the scene with The Sixth Sense but then came average films like The Happening which were quickly followed by some of the worst movies ever made – The Last Airbender and After Earth. Well it seems as though Shyamalan listened to the public and the critics because he has decided to do something very different with his latest film The Visit. He goes right back to the drawing board and has decided to make a low budget film with a cast of virtual unknowns.
Now that might be enough to make some people groan, but it seems to be the right decision for Shyamalan as returning to the basic style of filmmaking has meant that he has had to rely on a good script to impress the audience rather than millions of dollars worth of special effects. And I’ll admit it to my surprise he manages to pull it off very well with a film that has now even seemed to win horror fans… some of the hardest film lovers to impress.
Early on The Visit did have me wondering what the hell I had walked into as the character Tyler started to rap… yes rap like a poor man’s Eminem. After a while though I realised that Shyamalan had just inserted this to get some laughs from the audience or even to make this film a little bit different, no instead this was something that had been lacking from his films for quite a while – characterisation. With the important aspect of a screenplay welcomed back Shymalan then takes his audience on a journey that provides a more than enough scares along the way, with the odd chuckle and then delivers its payload with a twist that actually drew sounds of amazement and fear out of the audience I was sitting with. Yes Shymalan has not only managed to deliver a horror with a mix of comedy, but also made that a damn good horror film at the same time.
It does feel that The Visit’s fairytale style story allows Shyamalan to take a journey make to his childhood and he mostly seems to do this through the character of Becca who you can easily imagine is the female version of what the wannabe-filmmaker teenage Shymalan would have been like. Maybe it’s because of this personal touch or perhaps because the film actually works but this was one time when the ‘found footage’ style of filmmaking didn’t make me want to leave the cinema.
Of course one of the dangers of making a low budget film with no names acting is that the acting is going to be below par but that certainly isn’t the case here. Peter McRobbie and Deanna Dunagan bring a brilliant level of creepiness to this film while the young Australian stars Ed Oxenbould and Olivia DeJonge put in mature performances well above their ages. This is something that fans of Australian television series Puberty Blues have come to expect from Oxenbould and he continue to shape himself to be one of the big international stars of the future.
Well its official people, it has taken a few bombs along the way but M. Night Shyamalan is back with one of the most impressive horror flicks of the year. The back to basics storytelling approach that Shyamalan takes with The Visit results in a horror flick with an amazing twist that is guaranteed to provide a few scares for its audience.
The following is David Griffiths’ second The Visit review which originally appeared in Heavy Magazine
While it may have been bombarded by the amount of blockbusters that have been released recently new horror thriller The Visit is actually a film that has a lot riding on it – the most important thing being the career of its writer/director M. Night Shyamalan. Shymalan was once the talk of Hollywood thanks to the fact that his film The Sixth Sense was classed as a classic, but since then Shyamalan has never reached those heights again and his past two films The Last Airbender and After Earth saw him get crucified by critics and film lovers so badly he now needs a hit film to get some credibility back.
The Visit is a brave choice for Shymalan. It has a small budget, stars virtual no-names and decides to mix comedy and horror together – two genres that sometimes meet to create little more than a car crash. Shymalan’s The Visit presents itself like a fairytale. A mother (Kathryn Hahn – We’re The Millers) reluctantly allows her children, budding filmmaker Becca (Olivia DeJonge – The Sisterhood Of Night) and wannabe rapper Tyler (Ed Oxenbould – Puberty Blues), to go and stay with her estranged parents. But then when the two kids arrive they find that Nana (Deanna Dunagan – Have A Little Faith) and Pop Pop’s (Peter McRobbie – Lincoln) behavior is strange to say the least.
The great news horror fan is that The Visit sees Shymalan back at his creepy best. He takes some huge gambles with this film and luckily they all pay off. Sure early on when young Tyler bursts into some pretty ordinary rapping you might groan but stick with it because that is just setting up his character and soon you find yourself embedded in an old style horror film that actually has enough scares to have you jumping in your seat. Oh and there is one hell of a twist that will leave you screaming WTF!!! Yes, it is such a surprise you will actually say it out loud.
Even the fact that this is largely a ‘found footage’ film doesn’t hold it back and for once a screenplay actually manages to include a few humorous parts into what is actually a pretty frightening horror film. Young stars Olivia DeJone and Ed Oxenbould do Australia proud and once again cinema fans can start to get excited about a film with the name M. Night Symalan attached to it.
This week on The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show Adam, Dave, Greg and Nick take a look at new release films ‘London Road,’ ‘The Diary Of A Teenage Girl,’ ‘Cut Snake,‘ ‘Pan,’ ‘The Visit,’ and ‘Sicario.’ This episode also contains interviews with Hugh Jackman, Levi Miller, Rooney Mara, Joe Wright, Ed Oxenbould, Olivia DeJonge, James Cullen Bressack (Pernicious), Nick Kozakis (Plague) and Kosta Ouzas (Plague).
Also make sure you are listening this week as the boys announce a very special partnership that The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show has started with DC Comics and Warner Home Video. We kick off this brand new partnership by giving you the chance to win a copy of Gotham Season 1 on DVD or Blu-Ray.
Jumpgate VR, in collaboration with Cyan Films, have created a virtual reality experience for the upcoming Cairnes brothers feature, Scare Campaign – the first time an Australian feature film has used the technology to engage fans. A 90-second teaser trailer has just been released for “Scare Campaign: The VR Experience”, which is available via Jumpgate’s official website and showcases the immersive 3D world designed to capture the feel of the film and give fans a taste of what to expect.
“Scare Campaign: The VR Experience” stars Olivia DeJonge (The Visit), who plays a ghost girl in Scare Campaign, the Colin and Cameron Cairnes film about a horror-themed TV “prank” show’s attempts to stay one step ahead of its nihilistic online rivals. The virtual reality short film follows Olivia haunting the derelict interiors of the Beechworth Lunatic Asylum in Victoria and was filmed on location during the feature shoot in February.
The teaser trailer was launched in time for the 2015 Cannes Film Festival market, where Scare Campaign producer Julie Ryan will be in attendance. “When I was introduced to the VR technology earlier in the year I was incredibly excited to work with Jumpgate” Ryan commented, “I wanted to see how we could marry the elements of our horror world with their new 3D virtual world and the results are incredible, I have to admit to screaming my way through the 90 second teaser!”
Virtual Reality (VR) has been receiving plenty of hype and attention at festivals, notably this year’s Sundance Film Festival. VR provides the viewer with an immersive and personal experience and is becoming more readily accessible, with technology such as Google Cardboard, Samsung Gear or Oculus head-mounted displays currently available. Jumpgate Managing Director Anton Andreacchio commented “To be able to support a great Australian film in such a cutting edge space is really exciting for us. We’re working on VR projects in infrastructure and events but it was fantastic to be able to collaborate with creative talents who are really keen to push the medium and explore new ground in entertainment.”
“The entire Scare Campaign team was really great to work with” remarked Jumpgate Head of Production Piers Mussared. “Julie’s energy for the project, Colin and Cam’s enthusiasm for the platform as a future story-telling medium, and Olivia’s fantastic performances meant we were able to develop some really fun and interesting concepts to complement the feature film”. As well as the VR teaser, the Scare Campaign production team has also just released a ‘Reactions to Scare Campaign VR clip’, a video that shows audience reactions to the short in a bid to further build hype and excite fans.
Scare Campaign is the second feature film from Colin and Cameron Cairnes and along with Olivia DeJonge, also stars Meegan Warner (Turn, The Veil) and Ian Meadows (The Moody’s, The Pacific) in lead roles. “We have assembled a formidable cast” comments director Colin Cairnes “and the film will be packed with jolting scares and suspenseful set pieces.” “Scare Campaign: The VR Experience” will be available to audiences in late 2015.