M. Night Shyamalan has been in a rough creative slump over the past few years. After Earth was uncharacteristically boring and while I get what he was trying to do with The Last Airbender, almost nothing worked in that film. The Happening is only fun if you watch while mocking it (it is a truly “great” bad movie). But Night is so talented, from his high concept ideas to his beautiful cinematography, he’s someone in the film industry that we need firing on all cylinders.
So it was with a bit of trepidation that I watched The Visit. I’m pleased to report this is one of Night’s best films in years. It’s very clever in how it uses the “documentary-style” camera work to service the story. The Visit has more in common with The Sixth Sense in a lot of ways than Night’s other films. Not because of the twist but because the scares & suspense are both well done and don’t devolve into cheap jump scares. Night also uses tone masterfully to bring out a surprising number of emotions during the film from laugh out loud comedy to heartfelt drama and quite a few moments of fear & dread along the way.
I really enjoyed this and I’d say it’s one of Night’s best films in years. I hope he’s back on track because I’m really excited for what he cooks up next.