This, dear friends, is a minefield of a blog post.
Adorable film auteur M. Night Shyamalan has brought the world much joy and more gnashing of teeth. He's put million of butts into theater seats, and encompasses most of my Rifftrax purchases. The man is more polarizing than the ceiling lights of J.J. Abrams' Enterprise.
This should be an easy review filled with low-hanging fruit, right?
Admittedly, there's a lot of standard jokes to draw upon. The M. Night Shyamalan review nearly writes itself, regardless of the actual content of the movie. And make no mistake, many of you are reading this for one specific content-related question.
So, is there a twist?
Is there a beautiful, obvious in hindsight twist like The Sixth Sense? I mean, I heard it was good. It was spoiler for teenage K.T. By a jerk working the same Burger King shift as me.
Is there a deft, hidden mythology with a dramatic twist made even better by the deleted scenes like Unbreakable?
Is there no twist, like Lady in the Water or Devil? Is there a twist we will never stop laughing about, like Signs? Could it be a twist worthy of a second-tier Twilight Zone episode like The Village, a movie I was entertained by even if I felt suckered? Do we have a truly horrifying twist, like a Caucasian Eskimo boomerang wielder who can't pronounce his own name right?
In short, do we have a twist, and is it like any of the previous movies?
Here's the problem, folks...
If I say there's a twist, let alone what kind, you'll be on hyper-alert. Guessing an M. Night Shyamalan twist, good or bad, is pure geek cred. If there's no twist, people might watch it with less excitement, knowing the mysteries over.
I've had arguments with my friends over spoiler levels. One of my buds was absolutely unrepentant, claiming that surprise in fiction was overrated. I, raised in the utterly-predictable sitcom eighties, hungered for any surprise I couldn't foresee, and violently disagreed with him dropping gems like “Richie dies, but it's halfway through the movie.”
Here's what I'm going to tell you. The Visit is good. Precocious kids head to their isolated grandparents house and film a home movie for their mother. It's a good found footage piece, the creepiness is progressively dark, and the audience in my theater tended to laugh from uncomfortable nerves. There may be just a teensy too much rap, but all is forgiven by the end.
And the ending... is earned. Twist or not, it is a thing of beauty when it came together. I laughed and applauded at least once.
So, let yourself be surprised, even if it's just at a lack of surprise. I ain't telling if there's a trademark twist. I'll say that the movie is well worth watching. After fifteen years of the real M. Night being in locked in the closet, someone finally killed his clone and let him out. Out of gratitude, he made us The Visit.
There's a new M. Night Shyamalan movie out, and it's good. That's the twist. Go enjoy it.