Director: M. Night Shyamalan
Writer: M. Night Shyamalan
Stars: Olivia DeJonge, Ed Oxenbould, Deanna Dunagan
Plot: Two siblings become increasingly frightened by their grandparents’ disturbing behaviour while visiting them on vacation.
Running Time: 94 Minutes
Rotten Tomatoes Score: Critics 65% Audience 51%
Why I Watched it: I’d heard decent things and of course it’s a horror film so I have to watch it, plus wanted to see Shyamalan get back to his roots and see what he had left.
Random Thoughts: So this was before Split, now Split was Shyamalan’s comeback, this film has getting his foot back in the door, this was a low budget film done by Blumhouse and it did well enough they gave him the chance to do Split. Now sometimes a director can get his mojo back by doing something smaller, less money sometimes times means less stress and also makes it easier to do.
What I liked: The two teenagers are pretty good, this is a film with pretty much a no name cast except maybe Kathryn Hahn, but she’s not in it that much. I really liked Dejonge she’s a solid actress and she has a good screen presence. The big question is did Shyamalan hit it out of the park, again I think this was good cause he scaled down his vision and focused on a couple of things, yes there’s a twist and let’s get this out of the way, the twist is fine, it’s kind of old school, it doesn’t really work once you think it out but ti’s a decent moment in the film when you figure out what’s going on.
I will say this for Shyamalan he does a great job of building up the suspense and also hiding what’s coming, you’re never sure what’s going on but you know something is off but it’s tricky to put your finger on it. I also think they did a good job of fleshing out the two leads, they’re kids who’ve never met their grandparents and their parents have gone throw a divorce when they’re dad has left, a lot of baggage their, some of it is handled well and some not so much. I do give them credit for at least giving these teenagers some arc and crap to deal with besides being in a horror film.
What I didn’t like: So the whole set up is most of this film is being done as a documentary by the female lead so yes it’s kind of found footage, shaky cam, someone always filming, it’s annoying I’m over this sub genre, it’s a nitpick but that did bother me. Alright let’s deal with the twist in a vague non spoiler way, it’s a huge cheat and some of it doesn’t make sense, it’s a twist where you have to suspend your disbelief a lot. And it does a couple of things that I hate in horror films. So we need weird things to happen in a horror film but if the leads figure out what’s going on too soon then we have a twenty minute movie, so something strange/weird happens and it gets explained away and once this happens three-four times it begins to get silly, it’s run time bad crap is going to happen. The other thing is when a character or characters go super crazy at the end you have to ask yourself how did they act so normal for so long, like no signs.
The finale bothered me cause something really gross happens and disturbing and it was cheaply done, they also do another very bad horror cliche, the person is too scared to do anything, they freeze and it happens here and I wasn’t even sure what was going on at first. I will say this about the big finale when the crap hits the fan it’s very hard to see or know what is going on, a big misstep here cause of the shaking cam. The other thing and it’s kind of a spoiler but this film is more of a thriller than horror film, we think maybe some supernatural or something unworldly is going on, not so much.
Final Thoughts: Not a bad film but it falls apart at the end for me, also you throwing this out there, they couldn’t get cell phone reception but they got wi-fi, and at any time they could have called their mother on a landline.