John Hanlon Reviews

Film Reviews

The Visit Poster

The Visit

Genre: Thriller

Director: M. Night Shyamalan

Cast: Kathryn Hahn, Deanna Dunagan, Peter McRobbie, Ed Oxenbould, Olivia DeJonge

MPAA-Rating: PG-13

Release Date: September 11th, 2015

Tom, cialis 40mg the leading character in the new feature Leaving Circadia is the type of guy that all of us have known at one time or another. Played by Evan Mathew Weinstein, information pills Tom is smart, more about amiable and confused about his life’s direction. He’s reached the age of thirty and is left with the undeniable question of “What do I do now?”

Tom is the superintendent of several New York City buildings, which are owned by the easily-angered Nat (Sopranos veteran Joseph R. Gannascoli). Tom has lived in the building for seven years and spends his days smoking weed and solving problems in the building whenever they arise. Although he can be lazy at times, when he’s called upon to fix a problem, he can. When asked if he’s happy with his unexciting life, he responds, “No, but I’m not sad.”

When he’s not alone (which he is a lot here), Tom spends much of his time with a group of male friends, who have grown up with him and often use Tom as a sounding board to talk about their own lives. Tom’s friend Will (Zack Griffiths) is the complete opposite of Tom: he’s married and seemingly happy with his own life and work. Tom’s friend Ray (Drew Seltzer), who lives in Tom’s building, seemingly stands on the brink of adulthood. He has a steady girlfriend, who has just informed him that he’s going to be a Dad. None of these guys knows what the next years will bring but they all realize that they’ve reach some sort of a turning point in their lives.

Will Tom continue to work for the domineering Nat, wasting his days away at a job with little chance of promotion? Can Will maintain the happy life that he’s created (and is it as happy as he puts on)? Is Ray prepared to become a father when he doesn’t see himself as an adult to begin with?

EvWeinstein, who is making his directorial debut here and who also wrote the script, is asking all of the right questions here and examining— in a real and heartfelt way— what it’s like to be in your early 30s today. The script speaks to the idea of growing into an adult and how the idea of “adulthood” changes as you grow up. In college, many people believe that they will have their lives figured out a few years after graduation but the reality is far different. One can find a career or a spouse or a way to make a living and still wonder what else is out there.

Weinstein also taps into the difficulty of building new relationships. In college, such relationships are built easily through dorms, fraternities or sororities. After college, it’s very different with some neighbors who are often too busy or too elitist to reach out to new people. Here Tom attempts to befriend a new snobbish resident named Davis (Reginald Huc), a divorced man with one child, and he starts dating a sweet resident named Collette (Larisa Polonsky). Both of them have built-in biases that Tom must contend with. (Davis doesn’t like Tom immediately while Collette is weary after getting hurt in relationships before).

There are some characters in Leaving Circadia who aren’t given much to do (namely Tom’s other friend Colin) but when it gets to its main story, the film touches something personal true in showing what it’s like growing up after becoming a grown up. It’s a worthwhile debut from Evan Matthew Weinstein and a smart and knowing look at what it really means to be an adult.
There are some who will likely argue that The Visit, ambulance
M. Night Shyamalan’s latest feature, view
is a return to form for the director who previously helmed The Sixth Sense and Signs. The argument is true to an extent. After Signs, the director faltered with critical and commercial failures like Lady in the Water, The Happening and After Earth. However, when Shymalan took on the role of a producer, his work sometimes succeeded (see Devil in 2010 and the television series Wayward Pines in 2015).

Shymalan never ceased to have talent but many of his projects over the past decade have fallen short. The Visit, although not as thoughtful or creative of the director’s earlier works, doesn’t.

This is a simple horror film that, despite its PG-13 rating, succeeds in scaring and thrilling its audience.

Written and directed by Shyamalan, the suspenseful drama focuses on five main characters. Becca (Olivia DeJonge) and Tyler (Ed Oxenbould) play siblings who are sent to visit their estranged grandparents over the course of a week while their Mom (Kathryn Hahn), who is mostly seen over a laptop screen, goes on vacation with her boyfriend. Despite the fact that their mother hasn’t seen her parents in years, she’s begrudgingly sent her children to their house. The Mom wants her children to have a relationship with her parents even if she doesn’t want one herself.

The relationship that is formed though is completely unexpected. When Becca and Tyler arrive to meet their grandparents(Deanna Dunagan and Peter McRobbie) at a train station, their week of family fun turns into a suspenseful time of terror.

In his breakout hit The Sixth Sense, Shyamalan focused his attention on the perspective of one little boy who could see dead people. Here, he returns to that focus as he tells the story from the perspective of Becca and Tyler, two young people who are excited and intrigued by the prospect of learning who their grandparents are and what led them apart from their mother.

The director uses found footage here to tell the story, which makes sense. Becca is a young wannabe documentarian who is trying to capture the feelings and emotions that the family confronts during the week. Even when the children are locked away in their bedroom, the camera– which they leave on after hearing mysterious noises during the night– captures their grandparents acting their strangest after 9:30 PM.

As the grandparents start acting stranger, the grandchildren become more than concerned. The filmmakers here seldom rely on jump scares to intimidate the audience. Instead, the film succeeds as the subtle creepiness grows more and more prevalent. Instead of always moving forward and making everything scarier and scarier though, Shymalan is smart enough to question the audience’s own tendencies. When the grandparents start acting strange, Shymalan eases the tension by explaining their behavior. When Grandmother acts up overnight, the grandfather always has an excuse at the ready. Unfortunately for them though, there are some things that can’t be explained.

The Visit isn’t the greatest return to form for Shymalan but it is a smart and creepy film that works despite some of its early unevenness. When it ends, there’s little doubt that the writer/director has found his footing once again. By telling a simple story about a family visit that is anything but friendly, he has awakened his talents once again.

Review by: John Hanlon