It’s time to look at a film where the villains are senior citizens. That’s always gonna be tricky to pull off because these guys don’t exactly push fear into the hearts of many. There was a recent film about a lady and her basement that I remember getting mocked for similar reasons. Either way this film’s definitely getting a thumbs down but at least the found footage aspect wasn’t as obnoxious as it could have been. Likely because the main characters were kids.
The film starts off with their Mom explaining that she ran away from home a long time ago. She then had kids before the guy ran off and now she’s with the rebound. Well, the grand parents have decided that they want to see the kids at long last and the Mom lets the kids know they can go if they want too. The kids do want to go so they can ship the Mom and the rebound character together. However, they quickly notice that the grandparents are rather off, once night falls the Grandma acts like a monster and the Grandpa is always vanishing into a suspicious shed. Maybe they should have stayed home after all.
Right away the film reminds you that this is a horror film through the bad writing. Tyler is incredibly annoying even compared to most kid characters. He’s only 13 but already sings rather edgy songs and has quite the potty mouth. His character was doomed from the start to be honest. Tyler gets a football related sob story which ties in at the end but by and large the character just doesn’t do much more than be around just to fill out the cast. I can’t stress enough how annoying and bad he is. Almost every line Tyler has is guaranteed to make you cringe.
Becca is certainly a lot better. Her origin story involves not looking at mirrors and that part was done pretty well as you may even notice this early on. Of course even if you do you most likely won’t attach any real significance to this until the twist occurs. Becca can be a bit too trusting and probably should have helped Tyler alert the mother sooner but for the most part Becca is pretty solid. I do think she definitely should not have tried pressuring the grandma into answering a question about her mother a second time after being completely rejected the first time. The grandma had such a violent reaction that risking such a response again is asking for trouble.
Naturally the main characters are kids so they have a bit of a better excuse as to why they make so many mistakes compared to the average main character. For example I definitely would not go into the oven since that’s basically signing my death warrant. There is a lot of tension there beneath the surface as the character may have been pushed in had she refused, but at least you could try to make a break for it. Once you’re in the oven then it’s all over. Also, opening the door after dark when they know the Grandma is dangerous was incredibly risky. She came super close to making it to their room in time and that would have been an unfortunate way to die.
Naturally there is a twist about the grandparents. It’s a good twist as there are cinematic clues you could fall back on from earlier in the film. Noticing them at first may be difficult, but after the twist they become obvious. It does remind me why I immediately thought the plan wasn’t a good idea on the Mom’s part. I don’t care if the grandparents want to see her or not, they’re her kids so she gets the final say. She absolutely should have gone with them to make sure that the grandparents were legit.
The film does get onto the violent/dark aspect towards the end. Most of the film is fairly tame by horror standards as all the bodies and slashes don’t start factoring in until the end. Unfortunately it also adds in a gross aspect which was wildly out of place. That part alone is enough to destroy the film’s score had it been high by this point anyway. It just goes to show that a horror film can rarely resist the urge to add something like this as opposed to staying classy.
Overall, The Visit is definitely not a quality film. It mixes the classic horror tropes with kid protagonists. I can tell you right now that this is not a winning combo. Tyler is annoying with his constant rapping and the villains aren’t scary. They’re only powerful because the main leads are kids which is more annoying than anything. The only other character who appears, a neighbor, acts incredibly naive and not very smart with how she handled the situation. It does continue the trope of horror supporting characters not being much smarter than a sandbag though. There was also the teenager who got beat up by an old man….but that’s just so crazy that I don’t even need to go into that. I also think the rebound subplot wasn’t great either since it seems like the Mom moved on awfully quick. The kids still remember the old father so it can’t have been too many years ago. That plot barely appears but is still something worth noting. If you want to watch a film with a bit more tension, go watch the original Pokémon film.