The Visit (2015)
I am a big fan of found footage film when they are handled in the correct way. The whole realism concept relies solely on the significance of the camera and the fact it keeps on rolling when things go (in most cases) horribly wrong. This is something I think was handled extremely well in this film, it makes sense for these kids to want to make the documentary and it makes sense for them to be using the cameras the way they do as the plot begins to unfold. Given that this is an M. Night Shyamalan film, it's difficult to not be on the lookout for some form of twist in the plot or a grand reveal that flips the narrative on it's head. This is no different. However, the reveal in this is something I certainly didn't see coming. I wouldn't say it was as strong as some of his usual work but I genuinely felt shocked when it was revealed. I think this is mainly brought on by how strong of a performance Kathrine Hahn gives and the shear horror and panic in her face says it all. Although, I didn't expect this to take the direction it did, I do feel that how it it play out causes some damage to the fear and curiosity of the story. I was expecting something much more supernatural. The brother/sister dynamic and their relationship is a very convincing, one that is played exceptionally well by Olivia DeJonge as Becca and Ed Oxenbould as Tyler. These are two very talented young actors. They really do hold up the entirety of this film, with DeJonge providing a very mature and dramatic performance with Oxenbould being more of a source of comic relief - a role in which he has outstanding comedic timing. Both of these two young actors have also shared the screen in 'Better Watch Out', which was released the following year. There are some real moments of tension in this film, all of which I have to give sole credit to Deanna Dunagan as Nana. She can go from sweet and innocent to truly horrifying in an instance. The moment in particular that stands out to me is in the scene in which Becca and Tyler are playing 'hide-and-seek' under the house and Nana appears and chases them through the narrow tunnels. This scene along with multiple events that take place on the night are very well calculated, providing just the right amount of genuine horror to jump scare ratio. I find moments like this in found footage films are where the sub-genre truly thrives, the claustrophobic poorly lit environment is a great backdrop for this style of film making. I did really enjoy this film and it wasn't until the big twist reveal that it fall apart for me. That's not to say that it wasn't an impactful revelation, I guess I just wanted more from it and had hoped for something much more sinister than what we ultimately got. I was left exploring the multiple possibilities that I personally would have found more entertaining than what actually played out, this is more down to my own expectations as a viewer than fault with the film. This is certainly a very enjoyable found footage film and one that I would strongly recommend.