The Visit (Blu-ray) (2015)

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Released 21-Jan-2016

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Thriller Featurette-Behind The Scenes-The Making of The Visit
Deleted Scenes
Alternate Ending
Additional Footage-Becca's Photos
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2015
Running Time 93:54
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Language Select Then Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By M. Night Shyamalan
Studio
Distributor
Universal Sony Starring Olivia DeJonge
Ed Oxenbould
Deanna Dunagan
Peter McRobbie
Kathryn Hahn
Celia Keenan-Bolger
Samuel Stricklen
Patch Darragh
Case Standard Blu-ray
RPI $29.95 Music Paul Cantelon


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English DTS HD Master Audio 5.1
Spanish dts 5.1
French dts 5.1
German dts 5.1
Hindi dts 5.1
Italian dts 5.1
English Descriptive Audio Dolby Digital 2.0
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.85:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 1080p
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
Spanish
French
German
Hindi
Italian
Portuguese
Arabic
Danish
Dutch
Finnish
Icelandic
Norwegian
Swedish
Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits Yes, Tyler dances & raps during credits

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

††† The Visit may be an imperfect thriller which never quite engages or frightens like the best genre movies, but it is a reassuring step in the right direction for director M. Night Shyamalan, whose misplaced confidence led to such indefensible disasters as The Last Airbender and After Earth. Disposing of large budgets and blockbuster thrills, Shyamalan seeks to return to his roots with The Visit, exploiting a primal fear to serve as the basis for a low-budget found footage chiller. Luckily, it works more than perhaps it had a right to, serving up scares and laughs in equal measure. Itís not a genuine return to form for Shyamalan, but it nevertheless packs a punch.

††† Fifteen-year-old Becca (Olivia DeJonge) and her younger brother Tyler (Ed Oxenbould) have never met their grandparents, because their mother (Kathryn Hahn) had a bitter falling out with them. However, the kids are curious to meet their Nana (Deanna Dunagan) and Pop Pop (Peter McRobbie), and decide to travel to rural Pennsylvania to spend a week with them while their mother treats herself to a romantic cruise with her new beau. Becca is a budding filmmaker, and seeks to use the trip as a chance to make a documentary about the pair that she hopes will mend fences. Nana and Pop Pop initially appear to be more than welcoming towards the kids, with Becca making the most of her documentary film opportunity. However, the pair soon discover that their grandparents have disturbing behavioural issues after the lights go out, and thereís the lingering sense that something is not quite right.

††† Found footage is normally reserved for inexperienced, cash-strapped young filmmakers seeking to make their mark through limited resources, but The Visit is a different matter. Shyamalan is a seasoned director hoping to reinvigorate his creative impulses in search of a hit, keeping costs low in order to retain creative control without studio interference. Admittedly, the limitations of the found footage subgenre do prevent The Visit from being wholly satisfying, and one must wonder what the movie might have been like if it was told through conventional means. After all, found footage cancels out the filmmaking aspects that Shyamalan actually excels at: precise framing, deliberate editing, and even use of music. Itís a more successful endeavour than, say, Renny Harlinís The Dyatlov Pass Incident, but itís nevertheless paint-by-numbers. Shyamalan adores twist endings, and The Visit sees the writer-director revisiting this characteristic to an extent, though the ďtwistĒ is not exactly mind-blowing or revolutionary, and isnít difficult to predict.

††† Perhaps unsurprisingly, The Visit was co-produced and distributed by Blumhouse Productions, who specialise in micro-budget horror pictures of this ilk. To Shyamalanís credit, there are a few particularly spooky sequences once the kids settle into their accommodation, including an unnerving scene set under the house. It is worth noting that the flick is not at all supernatural, with scares being derived from the mental conditions and general peculiarities of the two old people, thus the effectiveness of the horror will depend on your unease about folks of advanced age. The narrative of The Visit builds commendably, and though itís a slow-burner, pacing is often taut. Shyamalan does a superlative job of maintaining tension during the third act, able to make us just as edgy and nervous as Becca and Tyler. But the horror is not served straight-up, with Shyamalan mixing in comical scenes and amusing dialogue, and it mostly works; the film is unexpectedly funny. However, thereís an ill-advised detour into gross-out humour involving s*** being shoved into somebodyís face that only really serves as a visual representation of what Shyamalan has done to his audience for his past few movies.

††† DeJonge and Oxenbould are two of The Visitís biggest assets. DeJonge carves out a believable teenage girl character, made even more interesting by her passion for moviemaking (with a hint of pretentiousness), and sheís an instantly disarming presence. Even better is Oxenbould, a comedic highlight as the goofy, shameless younger brother whoís full of spirit. As opposed to dumb horror movie protagonists, these two are smart and resourceful, making it easy to care about them. Meanwhile, as Nana and Pop Pop, Dunagan and McRobbie are mightily effective, alternating between warm and disquieting.

††† The Visit is worth watching, but it does fall short of the narrative brilliance of the likes of The Sixth Sense or Signs. And although it does contain unnerving moments and a few surprising jump-scales, the movie is not exactly terrifying enough to truly satiate horror junkies seeking a good scare. Still, in comparison to Shyamalanís recent output, The Visit is just good enough. Letís just hope that the filmmakerís next effort will be the real comeback weíve been waiting for.

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Transfer Quality

Video

††† Even though The Visit purports to have been shot with consumer-grade equipment, Shyamalan lensed the movie with enormously expensive motion picture cameras, and it makes for a terrific Blu-ray image. This AVC-encoded, 1080p high definition video transfer faithfully replicates the cinematic experience, leaving very little to complain about.

††† Shot digitally, the image looks crisp and refined, with above-average detail and sharpness from start to end. Every close-up reveals intricate facial details, while clothing looks highly textured. The production design, too, is easy to take in and appreciate. Colours are consistently vibrant from scene to scene, while blacks are inky and deep. Even in darkness, the image doesnít fall victim to crush, as detail and delineation never falters. Itís a crystal clear image, and although I normally find digital presentations to look too smooth, The Visit never bothered me in this respect.

††† The only issue with the transfer is light banding in a few scenes, but such instances are fleeting and easy to forgive. For the most part, the encode is flawless, with no aliasing or ringing. The Visit is a home run for the folks at Universal. I saw the movie in the cinema, and itís hard to imagine it looking any better, even on an Ultra HD Blu-ray.

††† Plenty of subtitles options are available depending on your preferred language. The English track posed no issues to my arguably discerning eyes.


Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

††† The Visit is endowed with a generous DTS-HD MA 5.1 audio track, while there are a few more lossy audio options on the disc for non-English speakers. The lossless audio track is spectacular, even for a found footage movie, and it actually betrays the illusion that this is a consumer-grade production since the sound is so thoroughly professional.

††† This is an exceptionally clear presentation, with effective dialogue and punchy sound effects, while the surround channels handle the atmospheric ambience, with cold winds, bird calls, and bugs buzzing around. Separation is not common, though this is attributable to the source.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

††† A small but agreeable selection of supplements.

The Making of The Visit (HD; 9:56)

††† Not a typical talking heads featurette, this is an engaging little segment which mostly focuses on Shyamalanís approach to the movie, briefly touching upon past blunders and emphasising the filmmakerís passion for creating a pared-down thriller. There are some nice interviews here, as well as a tonne of on-set footage, but I would have preferred something longer and more substantial.

Deleted Scenes (HD; 8:34)

††† Some material that did not make the final cut. Itís clear why most of these were deleted, though they were worth watching. They can be viewed individually or via a ďPlay AllĒ function. The scenes are:

Alternate Ending (HD; 2:25)

††† This does not involve a different fate for the two kids, but rather serves as an extension of the filmís ending.

Beccaís Photos (HD; 1:13)

††† A slideshow of photographs. There is no manual advance function.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

† † Our release appears to be identical the American disc. Draw.

Summary

††† A flawed but worthwhile little horror film, The Visit at least surpasses the latest Paranormal Activity and many other found footage productions, even if there are better genre flicks out there.

††† Universal's Blu-ray sports an exceptional presentation, while there's a small selection of extras. It's enough to warrant a light recommendation, though I do recommend a rental first.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Callum Knox (I studied biology)
Saturday, February 06, 2016
Review Equipment
DVDPlayStation 4, using HDMI output
DisplayLG 42LW6500. This display device has not been calibrated. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. This audio decoder/receiver has not been calibrated.
AmplificationLG BH7520TW
SpeakersLG Tall Boy speakers, 5.1 set-up, 180W

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