In M. Night Shyamalan’s the visit a hard working mom (Kathryn Hahn) sends her daughter and son to the Pennsylvania countryside by train to visit the grandparents they never met (or even seen pictures of) while she goes on a cruise with her latest boyfriend. 15-year old aspiring documentarian Becca (Olivia DeJonge) and her 13 year old wannabe rapper brother Tyler (Ed Oxenbould) spend the week with Nana (Deanna Dunagan) and Pop Pop (Peter McRobbie). But things turn out not to be as they seem.
While at the house, the siblings notice strange behavior from their elders as Nana is seen doing such things as scratching doors in the middle of the night while naked and chasing the children on all fours while Pop Pop is found in the chicken coop with a shotgun in his mouth. He also dresses up formally to attend parties that don’t exist. Becca and Tyler are told that bedtime is 9:30 and to never go into the basement because of “mold”.
In the third act the grandparents odd mannerisms become more precarious and the kids want to leave the house just to survive. Layers are quickly pulled back as we find out the truth of the situation. While Becca and Tyler’s intent on the visit was not only to visit grandparent’s they never met, but also to find out about why they still held a grudge with their mom (after she ran away with a teacher when she was younger), they now want nothing more than for her (who’s done with her cruise) to come pick them up as quick as possible.
Tyler (Oxenbould) steals the scenes with his natural humor while Nana (Dunagan) and Pop Pop (McRobbie) have the audience actually feeling sorry at times for their behavior. The score and setting remain simplistic much as Jason Blum’s “Paranormal Activity” movies with almost all of the scenes taking place in the Pennsylvania house.
The movie is creepy but at times seems to play more for laughs. We have all seen this type of story before (Hansel and Gretel comes to mind). The movie comes off as a low-budget found-footage style indie compared to Shymalan’s big budget “The Last Airbender” and “After Earth”. The movie is entertaining but we think there will me much scarier fare come Halloween.