At some point you have to wonder whether it would be a greater twist for an M Night Shyamalan film not to have one. It’s become such a trope of his style that people go into his films looking to second guess the narrative, often ruining the suspense he actually has a knack for creating. The Visit does not escape that pattern, and in fact holds a blatantly obvious reveal that even your senile relatives will spot a mile off. Alongside a rotting script with amateurish exposition (watch out for those phobias kids!), you struggle to see anything below the surface in this one, with the grandparents facial expressions bringing much of the horror without the need for editing.

Knowing all too well where the film is going reduces the impact of the third act, but fortunately there’s enough bare-bones suspense and chills to keep the film at least somewhat captivating. I agree on some level that this film may have received more praise if it was the opening feature for an indie-film maker, but with Shyamalan brings expectation (even with a back catalogue of flops) and this slides away because of it. At least his return to thrillers can save us from the true horrors of another fantasy movie.

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  1. People need to stop talking about Shyamalan’s twists. Yes he has made a lot of bad films, and yes many of them have twists. But if you look at his filmography as a whole, it really doesn’t stand up. He has made twelve films, five of which did not have twists endings (Praying with Anger (1992), Wide Awake (1998), The Happening (2008), The Last Airbender (2010) and After Earth (2013)). People have complained about the twist in the Happening being bad and revealed halfway through without seeming to notice that that means it is that is the case then it CANNOT BE A TWIST ENDING.
    Additionally I would argue that there is a case for saying the same about Signs (2002). Not only is the “water” reveal also suggested halfway through the film but one of the films themes tackles the bounderies of faith and coincidence. So yes, swinging a bat isn’t a great message from beyond the grave but is it meant to be? Or is it more important that our protagonist chooses to give it meaning and gets his faith back? I don’t remember a big twist at the end of The Lady in The Water either (I think there was one, but it was more of a reveal than a grand finale. This might seem like I’m splitting hairs but I’m not. I’m bald.)
    I’m not saying these are all great films or that their endings work but in about half of his films, Shyamalan is either not even attempting a twist ending or he is trying to do something other than pull the rug out from under our feet. He might not succeed but we should still be able to judge the film by its own standards, not by our generalisations on the director’s past efforts.
    After all, if we go on about Shyamalan being unable to let go of the twist at the end of The Sixth Sense, shouldn’t we able to?

    Liked by 1 person

    • I like what you’re trying to put forward, but it’s difficult when its a trope that is so well known. Of course Shyamalan has more to his craft than the ability to do a narrative 180, but it’s the fact that he is well known in popular culture for the twist ending, and because of that it is in your mind when you watch his films, and therefore you’re expecting a surprise at all times. I enjoy some of his twists and with that some of his films, but I will always see an Shyamalan film and in the back of my mind will wonder whether he is going to include a twist in this one or not. Something I don’t do with any other director.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Fair enough, but is that really his fault or is it at least partly due to how big the Sixth Sense was and how little he has been able to live it down (okay, that last part is his fault, but not the contrast) ?

        Liked by 1 person

      • Well Sixth Sense certainly started him in this direction since its probably one of the ‘go to’ answers for the “What’s the most famous movie twist?” question. I guess after that some of his other most popular films (The Village, Unbreakable) also have quite notable twists so that added to him more, and by that point all his notable works had twists and from there he was pigeon-holed. He will fight against that for the rest of his movie career, because even though sometimes he doesn’t involve twists, he still does on occasions.

        I think you’re partly right that he was never able to live Sixth Sense down, but he has balanced his greats with some absolute stinkers.

        Liked by 1 person

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