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Film / The Visit

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Grandma's Rules:
1. Have a great time.
2. Eat as much as you want.
3. Don't ever leave your room after 9:30 pm.

The Visit is a 2015 horror film from M. Night Shyamalan. Two children staying with their grandparents while their mother is on vacation realize that something is horribly wrong with Nana and Pop Pop when strange things start happening after 9:30 pm.

No relation to the play or video game of the same name.

This movie provides examples of:

  • Adults Are Useless: Nana and Pop Pop are the problem, and Mom doesn't seem to believe the kids when they call her and say something's wrong.
    • Subverted when she realizes that her children have been staying with strangers and not their real grandparents. She immediately calls the police and sets out to save them, telling them to escape to the neighbors as soon as possible.
  • All There in the Script: The credits gives the names of the grandparents as Marja and Fredrick Jamison (the grandparents) and Claire and Mitchel (the imposters).
  • Alone with the Psycho: The entire movie is the children stuck in the house with the two deranged "grandparents".
  • An Aesop: Don't hold on to anger so much that you can't forgive/reconcile with someone, especially if they're your loved ones. Or they might end up killed and replaced by escaped mental patients before you get the chance.
  • Ate His Gun: Becca walks in on the grandfather seemingly about to do this.
  • Arbitrary Skepticism: Becca is adamant that there's nothing abnormal about grandma, even when they see her crawling on the floor and scratching the walls like an animal.
  • Ax-Crazy: The grandparents, especially the grandma.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Tyler and Becca kill "Nana" and "Pop Pop", but are initially traumatized by what they endured and what they had to do, though the final scene shows they largely grew out of the trauma and they seem better than ever. In addition, their real grandparents are dead and Loretta never got a chance to reconcile with them. She urges Tyler and Becca not to hate their father like she hated her parents.
  • Brick Joke: Becca scoffs at Tyler's request for him to rap at the end of the documentary, saying no documentary would dare do it. Not only does Tyler himself rap, but another rap song by East Coast Connection is played over the credits.
  • Cassandra Truth: Tyler is the only one convinced in the beginning that something is wrong with the grandparents. Both Becca and their mother insist that "they're just old," and Becca doesn't come around until she finds her nana laughing at nothing in a rocking chair.
  • Chekhov's Skill: Tyler's interest in football. Midway through the film, he confesses the reason why he thinks his father left: he froze in the middle of an important peewee league football game, allowing the other team to win. In the end, after freezing up when the grandfather assaults him, he takes the old man down after he threatens Becca, first by tackling him into the kitchen drawers, then slamming the fridge door into his head repeatedly.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Becca.
    Becca: (after Tyler spits a rap for her documentary) Yes, 'cause that's exactly what an Oscar-winning documentary has over the end credits. A song about misogyny.
  • Disappeared Dad: Becca and Tyler's father ran off with another woman prior to the events of the movie. They both have a lot of pent-up anger towards him because of it.
  • Evil Old Folks: Something is most definitely wrong with Nana and Pop Pop.
  • Excrement Statement: The fake Pop Pop smears Tyler's face with a used adult diaper.
  • Fairytale Motifs: From the trailer and the poster, this seems to be something of a Hansel and Gretel tale. And the ultimate explanation for why everything happens is straight out of Little Red Riding Hood.
  • Fan Disservice: The grandmother, oh so much. First flashing a pale, wrinkly naked buttcheek at the children as she turns away, then later scratching at a door like an animal while completely in the nude.
  • Foreshadowing: The mundane explanations for the figure under the porch and what is in the woodshed predicts the non-supernatural twist at the end of the film.
  • Found Footage Films: The kids are recording their trip and this footage seems to make up most of the film. Surprisingly for this genre, the footage is gorgeously shot, with Becca even setting up camera angles that provide full views of rooms — both resulting in longer, steadier takes than this genre is known for.
  • Genre Savvy: Both of the kids, Becca for being an aspiring filmmaker and Tyler being... a 13-year-old, are pretty savvy in regards to what to do when dealing with horror-esque situations.
  • Harmful to Minors: The protagonists are two kids who end up getting exposed to appalling violence, including finding the bodies of their murdered grandparents, and having to kill the unstable old couple they're staying with themselves.
  • Irony: Becca catches all of the crazy on her cameras and still doesn't notice what is going on right in front of her.
  • Insane Equals Violent: Nana's sundowning. She claws at walls and tries stabbing children in their sleep. Downplayed with Pop Pop who only gets violent once he's been exposed.
  • Kick the Dog: In the climax, as he's getting ready to kill the boy, "Pop Pop" tells him, "You know what? I never liked you."
  • Kill and Replace: The real Nana and Pop Pop were replaced by two of their own patients who were jealous of them and their perfect lives.
  • Lampshade Hanging: Becca uses cinematography terms often and describes a scene's actual importance to the plot right after it happens.
  • Mood Whiplash: Happens often, and it's mainly due to Deanna Dunagan's performance as Nana, and how she sweet and cheery she is in spite of how weird everything around her is.
    • Done intentionally at the end of the climax when the mother's favorite song, a sappy classical string piece, blares as the children soaked in blood and crap flee into their mother's arms.
  • Never Got to Say Goodbye: Overlaps with Parting-Words Regret. The mom's parents have been killed, and she never got the chance to reconcile with them.
  • Offing the Offspring: Claire is revealed to have killed her own children during a schizophrenic episode, and the visit with the "grandchildren" was meant to be a way to make her feel like a mother again.
  • Potty Failure: Pop Pop suffers from incontinence and has to excuse himself during the family game night after an embarrassing and very audible bowel movement.
  • Precision F-Strike: Tyler lets one out after killing "Pop Pop" (and subsequently working through his greatest fear).
  • Red Herring: The Shed and the well are ominous and creepy, but they're ultimately irrelevant to the actual plot.
  • The Reveal: "Nana" and "Pop Pop" are actually escaped mental patients that killed the real grandparents and stole their identities.
  • Running Gag: Tyler decides to substitute curse words with the names of female pop stars.
  • Sliding Scale of Comedy and Horror: Marketed as a horror/comedy. The first trailer seems to be leaning towards horror, but the fact that the antagonists are crazy old folk may be Narm to some and push it more towards comedy.
    • Deanna Dunagan's performance as Nana really drives this home. The "hide and seek" sequence is a perfect example of how much of a masterful Mood Whiplash the film can be.
  • Snow Means Death: It's winter at the house, and the bleak landscape adds to the creepiness.
  • Supernatural-Proof Father: Given a Gender Flip. Mom doesn't believe anything's wrong. At first.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Stacey, you know these people are the escaped mental patients. You know that the people living at the house you're visiting haven't been seen for days. You're actively confronting said mental patients. Why are you going to follow them behind the house instead of getting help?
  • Wham Line: "Those aren't your grandparents."
  • "What Do They Fear?" Episode: Becca is afraid of mirrors and Tyler is afraid of germs. Becca irrationally believes her father left because he didn't think she was his pretty girl anymore. Tyler is obsessed with cleanliness as a method of controlling his life. Both of these get used against them, and they manage to conquer both of them.
  • Would Hurt a Child: The "grandparents", big time.