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UNIVERSAL

MOVIE INFO

Director:
M. Night Shyamalan
Cast:
Olivia DeJonge, Ed Oxenbould, Deanna Dunegan, Peter McRobbie, Kathryn Hahn
Writing Credits:
M. Night Shyamalan

Synopsis:
A single mother finds that things in her family's life go very wrong after her two young children visit their grandparents.

Box Office:
Budget
$5 million.
Opening Weekend
$25,427,560 on 3,069 Screens.
Domestic Gross
$65,206,105.

MPAA:
Rated PG-13

DISC DETAILS
Presentation:
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
Audio:
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
English Descriptive Video Service
Spanish DTS 5.1
French DTS 5.1
Subtitles:
English
Spanish
French
Closed-captioned
Supplements Subtitles:
English
Spanish
French

Runtime: 94 min.
Price: $34.98
Release Date: 1/5/2016

Bonus:
• Deleted Scenes
• Alternate Ending
• “The Making of The Visit” Featurette
• “Becca’s Photos”
• Previews
• DVD Copy


PURCHASE @ AMAZON.COM

EQUIPMENT
Panasonic TC-P60VT60 60-Inch 1080p 600Hz 3D Smart Plasma HDTV; Sony STR-DG1200 7.1 Channel Receiver; Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.

RELATED REVIEWS


The Visit [Blu-Ray] (2015)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (December 23, 2015)

Will M. Night Shyamalan ever enjoy a critical and/or commercial success that approaches 1999’s The Sixth Sense? Probably not. Shyammalan suffered from diminishing returns as the years progressed, and he’s not earned a legitimate hit since 2002’s Signs.

That said, 2015’s The Visit shows that Shyamalan still has some life in him. No, the movie didn’t dazzle at the box office, as it earned a modest $65 million in the US, but given the film’s miniscule $5 million budget, it turned a sizable profit. It also received reasonably positive reviews, as it got the best notices of any Shyamalan work since Signs.

Visit marks a return to small-scale filmmaking after Shyamalan’s big-budget “tentpole” adventures After Earth and The Last Airbender. Egged on by her kids, Loretta Jamison (Kathryn Hahn) takes a vacation with her boyfriend. She sends the aforementioned teenage offspring Becca (Olivia DeJonge) and Tyler (Ed Oxenbould) to stay with her parents “Nana” (Deanna Dunagan) and “Pop Pop” (Peter McRobbie).

This becomes an unusual occasion because the kids have never met their grandparents. When Loretta eloped years earlier, this led to estrangement between her and her parents.

An aspiring filmmaker, Becca decides to document her first encounter with her grandparents. She gets more than she anticipated, as the kids’ stay comes with a series of odd – and disturbing – events.

The “Becca makes a documentary” framework means that Visit goes with a “found footage” format. Most uses of that technique flop because they feel like cheap filmmaking – it’s like their creators think the style allows them to ignore professionalism.

That seems like less of a concern with Visit, perhaps because it comes from such an established filmmaker. Shyamalan may have lost steam over the years, but he remains a skilled director, so Visit works better as a “traditional movie” than the average found footage flick.

Actually, Visit seems so professional that the found footage conceit makes less sense. So much of the film looks well-composed that it lacks the verisimilitude that stands as the main advantage of found footage. While Visit offers occasional shots that show the roughness one expects from the genre, most of the photography feels pretty traditional.

Which makes me wonder why Shyamalan opted for “found footage” in the first place. There’s nothing about the story that dictates its usage, and it doesn’t become a particularly useful narrative device. Couple that with Shyamalan’s apparent inability to create a movie with a convincing sense of amateurishness and the cinematic techniques of Visit feel off.

Whatever methods we see, Visit falls short of its goals simply because it’s pretty boring. The movie telegraphs its points too early, mainly via the depiction of the grandparents. They come across as so odd so soon that we immediately view them as more than just quirky old people.

That really does turn into a flaw. A more logical film would allow the grandparents to seem normal at the start and then slowly permit their weirdness to emerge, but that doesn’t happen. We’re given such extreme – and creepy - oddness so soon that any further “twists” don’t startle or shock.

Visit does manage a fairly interesting plot surprise late in the tale, but it feels more like a gimmick than anything else, and the film’s last act so actively shifts the scare attempts into overdrive that it seems a bit desperate.

Eep, the movie’s final third really does get silly. Not that the prior hour feels all that compelling, but Visit goes off the rails toward the end. Perhaps Shyamalan figured he needed to let everything fly to compensate for the mediocrity of the initial two acts, but it doesn’t work.

All of these factors leave The Visit as a pretty limp horror tale. Perhaps if the film opted for more subtly, it could’ve achieved a reasonable level of creepiness, but instead, it seems silly and uncompelling.


The Blu-ray Grades: Picture B+/ Audio B/ Bonus D+

The Visit appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. This became an appealing presentation.

Sharpness was mostly good. Due to the nature of the photography, some out of focus moments appeared, but those were intentional and rare. The rest of the flick offered pretty positive clarity. I noticed no shimmering or jagged edges, and I saw no edge haloes. Print flaws also failed to mar the image.

Given the rural winter setting, the movie usually opted for a desaturated feel. This tended toward an amber tint, and the hues seemed fine given the film’s visual goals. Blacks looked deep and full, and low-light shots presented positive clarity. The transfer consistently worked well.

I also felt pleased with the film’s DTS-HD MA 5.1. Though not a rock-em sock-em soundtrack, the audio opened up well on enough occasions to create a useful soundscape.

This occurred most prominently during scare scenes, as those used the channels in an involving manner. Other sequences seemed less stimulating, but they still created a pretty good sense of environment.

Audio quality satisfied. Speech was natural and distinctive, while the mostly low-key score showed solid range and clarity. Effects appeared accurate and dynamic, with good punch when necessary. In the end, the soundtrack suited the story.

A featurette called The Making of The Visit runs nine minutes, 56 seconds and includes notes from writer/director M. Night Shyamalan, producer Marc Bienstock, editor Luke Ciarrocchi, and production designer Naaman Marshall. The show discusses why Shyamalan made the film, the use of the first-person format, cast and performances, and editing.

“Making of” provides an oddly stylized piece that often resembles a music video more than anything else. It also seems really self-serving, as Shyamalan treats the movie as some spiritual journey – and others do little more than laud the director’s greatness. A few decent tidbits emerge, but the praise and self-reverence on display make it a chore to watch.

We get 10 Deleted Scenes (8:34) as well as an Alternate Ending (2:25). Given their running times, I didn’t expect much from the cut sequences, and I didn’t get much from them. They tend to provide minor tidbits but nothing memorable or valuable.

As for the “Ending”, it offers a different sense of closure related to the grandparents. It’s not especially effective or interesting.

Under Becca’s Photos, we find a running montage. It lasts one minute, 13 seconds and presents 29 stills of the kids and the grandparents. It’s an odd and not particularly useful compilation.

The disc opens with ads for Everest, Tremors 5: Bloodlines, Sinister 2, Legend, and The Forest. No trailer for The Visit appears here.

A second disc provides a DVD copy of Visit. It includes the same extras as the Blu-ray.

With The Visit, M. Night Shyamalan embraces the “found footage” genre, but not with successful results. The film lacks actual scares and mostly seems goofy and over the top. The Blu-ray offers pretty good picture and audio along with a small roster of bonus materials. Maybe someday Shyamalan will recapture his past glories, but The Visit falls flat.

Viewer Film Ratings: 2 Stars Number of Votes: 1
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