Tales of a Cinephiliac: ‘The Visit’


We all heard the horrifying Spotify commercials, and saw the terrifying pop-ups on Snapchat for the newest horror, “The Visit.”

Now for the moment of truth: is their grandparent’s house actually as scary as the ads make it seem? And the simple answer is yes, just not in the way you would expect.

This story is shot from the perspective of 15-year-old Becca’s (Olivia DeJonge’s) camera lens. She intends to make a documentary of her mother’s childhood home with the help of her little brother, Tyler (Ed Oxenould). Because of this route, the movie seems eerily like Paranormal Activity, and the trailers allude to a similar kind of “scary.”

By the end of their first (and only) visit, however, it becomes clear that the fear in this story is unique, surprising and terrifyingly realistic.

Here are my top 5 thoughts while viewing “The Visit” (through squinted eyes).

1. The 2015-version of Beans from ‘Even Stevens’ has surfaced

To be honest, 11-year-old Tyler was hands-down the best character in this movie. It didn’t take much screen time to know he would be an important amount of comedic relief midst this horror.

Two defining facts about him: he is a rapper, and he replaces curse words with famous female singers. What’s not to like?

Also, there is an uncanny resemblance between Tyler and the beloved, Beans from the Disney Channel Original Series, “Even Stevens.”

2. Anticipation was 75 percent of the fear

Typically scary movies have 30 minutes of slow, relatively peaceful background setup, and then the remaining hour or so is pure torture.

In this movie, however, I felt that it was the opposite: I wasn’t actually scared until the last 30 minutes.

A majority of the movie was a confusing build-up sprinkled with brief frightening, creepy moments. Although this may seem like bad movie making, I thought it made the climax so shocking and unexpected.

Also, as an irregular horror movie watcher, I was grateful that I wasn’t panicking for a majority of the movie.

3. General psychology class did not prepare me for the mental disorders that exist in this movie

Spoiler alert: this movie is not about demon possession … it is about a multitude of real mental disorders.

The newest term, and most relevant to the movie, is sundowning. This is a syndrome that some dementia or Alzheimer’s disease patients may experience. With fading light and as the night progresses, patients may have mood swings, see or hear things, yell or pace, according to the WebMD website.

So Nana isn’t possessed when she asks Becca to get in the oven. She is suffering from a horrid mental illness.

4. This movie may ruin Yahtzee for viewers

Nana and Pop Pop have a host of mental health concerns, and board games surprisingly do not help reduce symptoms.

5. Forgiveness and healing can occur in horror movies

One of the best parts of this movie is that there is a great plot with moving morals, despite wanting to cry from fear during the last few scenes of the movie. Becca’s motivation in making the documentary is to get closure for her mother and her parents’ relationship.

At the end, however, Becca’s mom shares that her parents had grace for her mistakes long ago, and that the forgiveness was always there if she were willing to accept it.

Another important triumph was seen in Tyler. He shared an instance years ago during a football game when he froze and missed a tackle, and it cost his team the game. This memory haunted him, but fortunately he was able to rewrite this fate. At the end of the movie, he didn’t freeze when his sister desperately needed him, and he was able to “tackle” the opposing team.

So shout-out to Becca and Tyler for not letting one visit to their grandparents scar them forever. Jury is still out for me.

Overall rating: 4/5 stars

Madelyn Johnson is a senior in psychology.