Not at all what you would expect and far better for it, M. Night Shyamalan’s new film The Visit is a welcome return-to-form for the oft-maligned filmmaker. It’s Shyamalan doing what he does best – working with talented child actors, putting them into peril and shooting said peril from a cold objective distance (a la The Sixth Sense or Signs). The found footage aesthetic, so often laborious and dull, here repurposed by Shyamalan to actively disconnect the audience from what they’re seeing. We’re not in the children’s shoes as they deal with their increasingly strange and hostile grandparents but watching them through the lens, the camera giving us (the viewer) a level of safety. The effect: what would be terrifying (a child being chased underneath her home or locked into a stove) becomes darkly and perversely humorous. The Visit is Shyamalan’s The Trouble with Harry, every bit as unexpectedly funny as the Hitchcock one-off. It’s a welcome curveball for the thriller filmmaker and for that matter the omnipresent Blumhouse horror label as well.
In the following interview with Shyamalan and Blumhouse founder Jason Blum, the duo discusses the old-people horror subgenre, what influenced The Visit and the bait-and-switch marketing (or lack thereof) for the film.The Visit opens in theaters this Friday.
M. Night Shyamalan & Jason Blum:
- Blum & Shyamalan on their favorite terrifying old-people horror films
- Shyamalan on what influenced The Visit
- Shyamalan on if knowing he’s directing the film influences the writing process
- Blum & Shyamalan discuss the marketing for The Visit