Archive for the ‘The Visit (2015)’ Category

Blu-ray Cover

Distributor: Universal Pictures

Release Date: January 05, 2016

Region: Region A

Length: 94 min

Video: 1080P (MPEG-4, AVC)

Main Audio: 5.1 English DTS-HD Master Audio (48kHz, 24-bit)

Alternate Audio:

5.1 Spanish DTS 5.1 French DTS

Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish

Ratio: 1.85:1

Notes: This title is also available in a single disc DVD edition.

One Sheet

“It was a huge risk.  You’re saying, ‘I’m gonna do this thing,’ and you have to be aware, as a rational human being, that you may not be allowed back in.  That was a real situation.  Because they didn’t make it, it doesn’t necessarily go back into the system.  That was a risk that I was willing to take.  I tried to stay on top of why The Visit was an amazing movie to make, and why someone would want it in the system.  Its best shot at being the best version of itself was to make it small… I love making movies and I wanted to get back there.  I had the greatest year making it.  I had the greatest time writing it.  You can feel that, when you see the movie.  I’m super lucky that my number one choice, Universal, was interested.  When I wrote it, I said, ‘Universal is the right place to release this movie.’  They said, ‘Show it to me when it’s done.’  I showed them when it was done, and they bought it.” – M. Night Shyamalan (Collider)

After a decade of facing hateful scorn from the media, Shyamalan decided to take a risk and self-finance a small micro-budget thriller. The Visit is the fruit of his labor and it is a very sweet fruit indeed. It is especially pleasing to report that the film harkens back to genre films made in an era when directors didn’t pander to the public’s embarrassingly short attention span.

“When I first saw The Exorcist, I fell instantly in love with the shape of that movie. It starts in the Middle East, then it gets really quiet for a while, and then it just RAMPS up; and The Visit has that kind of structure to it. It’s meant to build slowly at like 10 miles per hour, then 15, the audience goes, ‘Ugh, I just want them to push it to the edge already.’ Audiences today are used to action-porn or CGI-porn to the point in which they just shut down. With me, I’m trying to hook them. Make them think. The speed keeps building and suddenly – WHAM – we’re at 60 miles per hour but it suddenly feels like 90. The audience gets that adrenaline rush, and that’s the shape, you know? You have to have confidence to make them think that the shape is ‘this’ and then morph into another one.” – M. Night Shyamalan (Dread Central)

The Visit is a slow burn that catches the audience off guard by a confident use of eccentric humor. The scares take an incredible amount of time to manifest but the film is never boring. Critical opinion about the film seems to be split down the middle, but one suspects that a few of these critics are simply unable to give any film by M. Night Shyamalan a fair chance. After a string of films that have been universally panned, it takes an incredible amount of integrity to publicly announce that M. Night Shyamalan isn’t the hack director that so many journalists prefer to describe in their reviews. On the contrary, The Visit proves to be every bit as good as any other genre film to be released recently. Many critics have claimed that it is his best film since The Village (2004). This might meet with a certain amount of argument, but it is very difficult to argue with the fact that the film is 94 minutes of pure enjoyment.

The “found footage” format (if you wish to put The Visit in this category) has never been this reviewer’s cup of tea, but Shyamalan uses this approach in surprisingly effective ways. The compositions sometimes seem to be random, but they are obviously well thought out (and extremely effective).

“In this case, as Jason [Blum] has said, the camera is an extension of those characters. So, what were they thinking if the sister was trying to trick the boy in the closet scene? She set the camera up to catch this. It’s locked on a tripod in the living room staring at this closet. That’s all what happened. That’s what I would tell her would happen with her character. That’s all what would happen. It’s not added work. It’s the natural homework we would have done anyway. It’s manifesting in literal cinematography in this particular movie, but it’s the same practical homework you should do when you’re really digging into the performances.” – M. Night Shyamalan (Movies Online)

It is probably safe to say that The Visit isn’t for everyone, but this reviewer was fortunate enough to see the film at the theatre with a rather enthusiastic audience. Laughter mingled with the occasional scream, and smiling faces exited the theatre when all was said and done. It was more than evident that this audience was with Shyamalan every step of the way. Better yet, there seems to be just enough subtext here to warrant repeated viewings.

The Visit 1

The Presentation:

4 of 5 Stars

 Universal protects the discs in a standard Blu-ray case with film related artwork, and a slip sleeve with the same artwork protects the case.

The disc’s menu features this same artwork and is accompanied by creepy music. It is an attractive and easy to navigate menu.

The Visit 2

Picture Quality:

4.5 of 5 Stars

Universal’s 1080P AVC transfer is everything that one might expect from a Blu-ray release. It is an accurate representation of the original source material, and is free from any distracting digital anomalies. The picture is crisp and sharp while showcasing impressive fine detail. It would be difficult to find anything to complain about here.

The Visit 3

Sound Quality:

4.5 of 5 Stars

The 24-bit 5.1 English DTS-HD mix is also an accurate reflection of the theatrical soundtrack, and sounds wonderful on high-end home entertainment systems. It isn’t the most dynamic soundtrack, but the material is perfectly represented (and this is what should matter).

 The Visit 5

Special Features:

4 of 5 Stars

Ten Deleted Scenes – (08:34)

The best supplement on this disc is this collection of deleted scenes. There are ten scenes in all:

Check In With Mom

Becca and Tyler check in with their mother for the first time after meeting “Nana and Pop-Pop” at the train station.

An Evening with Nana and Pop-Pop

After dinner Becca is experimenting with her camera, and Tyler insults her. Nana seems to have sore feet, and Becca volunteers Tyler to give her feet a massage. He isn’t very enthusiastic.

Waiting for the White Thing with Yellow Eyes

Becca and Tyler spy on Pop-Pop through a window.

Searching Mom’s Room

Tyler showcases the stickers that their mother apparently put on her bed when she was a child.

Someone Was In Our Room

After Becca and Tyler settle down for bed, someone comes into their room and shoots footage of them as they sleep.

Tyler Educates Nana

Tyler explains the benefits of Wi-Fi.

Pop-Pop Hates the World

Pop-Pop rants as he drives his grandchildren around.

Visiting Mom’s Favorite Joints

We see Becca and Tyler at an ice cream parlor where their mother was employed as a teenager.

Tyler Internalizes What Happened the Night Before…

Tyler performs a shirtless rap in the restroom.

Becca Considers Reality Television

Becca watches an episode of “Housekeepers of Houston” on her laptop.

Alternate Ending – (02:25)

Becca and Tyler’s Mother (Kathryn Hahn) reads a letter from her parents in this alternate ending to the film.

The Making of ‘The Visit’ – (09:56)

While fans of M. Night Shyamalan will be disappointed that this is not the comprehensive “making of” documentary that the title suggests, it is nice to hear the director discuss his self-financed film. It isn’t much more than an EPK promotional piece, but it is nice to see this included on the disc.

Becca’s Photos 

This is essentially a photo gallery of production stills in slideshow format.

The Visit 4

Final Words:

The Visit should be a fun diversion for genre fans, and Universal’s Blu-ray release is the perfect way to experience the film on one’s home entertainment system.