M Night Shyamalan is many things, but he is not a hack. His movies are dumb, but they are entirely his own, worlds that are not so richly imagined as they are distinctively contrived. Every character has an overwritten variation of Shyamalan’s own voice, rendering all dialogue conspicuously flat. Ludicrous premises and moments are carefully engineered with the bewildering expectation of generating pathos, shock, or delight. Even mainstream audiences seem to be confused as to why he is still allowed to helm major motion pictures, but I’m glad he is. A thing that is breathtakingly stupid is still breathtaking.
The Visit (a more appropriate title might be Ageism: The Movie!) is not one of Shyamalan’s more breathtaking endeavors, but it still makes enough head-scratchingly terrible decisions to recommend it. When it’s not trying to elicit fright with strange octogenarian behaviors presumed to be disturbing (couched in “old folks gonna old”), it’s giving a twelve-year-old white kid several opportunities to showcase his subpar freestyle rapping skills. So if you enjoy being confounded by the off-kilter movies Shyamalan makes for his awkward audience of one, The Visit mostly delivers.