Max Found Footage Horror Is Acclaimed Director’s Creepiest Movie

By Robert Scucci | Published

Talking about any M. Night Shyamalan film without blowing the ending is always a difficult task. After finally watching The Visit, I feel comfortable talking about it because its journey is way more satisfying than the destination it arrives at. While I can’t say that the “twist” in The Visit came as a surprise, the buildup across the film’s first and second acts is what kept my eyes glued to the screen.

M. Night Shyamalan Perfects The Found Footage Horror Genre

The Visit earns its keep through its character development and strong acting, and its dark sense of humor is definitely an added bonus. It will also make you think twice about visiting any estranged relatives for the sake of documentary filmmaking. Using the found footage filming method to get his point across, M. Night Shyamalan thrusts a paranoid premise upon his viewers and tells a tense story about family, deeply buried abandonment issues, and how attempts at reconciliation don’t always necessarily yield desirable results.

Something Feels Off With Nana And Pop Pop

Set in rural Pennsylvania, The Visit centers primarily on Becca (Olivia DeJonge) and Tyler (Ed Oxenbould), who are meeting their estranged grandparents for the first time. Their mother, Loretta (Kathryn Hahn), ran away from home when she was a teenager and hasn’t spoken with Nana (Deanna Dunagan) or Pop Pop (Peter McRobbie) for 15 years. Wanting to learn more about their mother’s upbringing, Becca and Tyler convince Loretta to let them stay with Nana and Pop Pop for five days while she goes on a cruise vacation with her boyfriend.

Becca brings her video cameras with her to document the entire experience, and The Visit starts out with a wholesome vibe. Nana and Pop Pop seem like genuinely nice people, but they establish two very suspicious ground rules: don’t go in the basement, and don’t leave the bedroom after 9:30 p.m. On the first night, Becca sneaks out of the bedroom she’s sharing with Tyler to grab a cookie from the kitchen, and is disturbed by Nana’s behavior.

Things Get Strange

The following morning, Tyler becomes suspicious of Pop Pop’s frequent trips to the shed behind their house. The Visit becomes more unhinged as it progresses, as Nana and Pop Pop continue to act out in increasingly erratic ways. Though Becca and Tyler frequently video chat with Loretta to voice their concerns, she suggests that they’re acting strangely because of their age.

Becca and Tyler decide to use their cameras to continue documenting Nana and Pop Pop in an attempt to figure out what happens in their house after bedtime. Each time they review the footage, they’re met with an increasing feeling of unease because their grandparent’s behavior is absolutely insane when they think nobody is watching. Matters further escalate in The Visit when Nana finds a hidden camera in the living room.

M. Night Shyamalan’s Typical Twist

The Visit does a great job building up to its third-act reveal, but if you’re familiar with M. Night Shyamalan‘s work, you’ll probably figure out the film’s intended conclusion before it’s spelled out for you. Despite what I would consider to be a pretty soft landing, I loved the on-screen chemistry between Olivia DeJonge and Ed Oxenbould. Their constant willingness to push each other’s buttons during such a frightening ordeal is what having siblings is all about, and I’ve got to say they did it convincingly.

Stream The Visit On Max


Like most of Shyamalan’s films, I don’t think I’ll be watching The Visit again because he relies so heavily on surprise endings that his films don’t really have much staying power. While his earlier efforts, like The Sixth Sense, warrant repeat watches because you want to see how many clues are laying around, The Visit didn’t have that same effect on me. But I can’t say that I regretted watching this film because it has a wicked sense of humor that I’m glad I got to experience as the narrative developed.

If you’ve slept on The Visit like I did, you can currently stream it on Max. Just don’t watch it with your grandparents.