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Visiting Grandma


The Visit trailer released recently boasts some unsettling moments that manage to get under your skin without context and atmosphere. While that is impressive, the film has two huge red flags. Firstly, it is directed by M Night Shyamalan. Secondly, it is written my M Night Shyamalan. Efrit and I had a furious debate over just how legitimate a Shyamalan red flag is today. The man has produced several staples in the horror genre, while also supplying some acclaimed (depending on who you ask) horror-dramas that were a fresh blend of two oft-opposite genres.

I, for one, have an appreciation for The Village and Unbreakable. They both had the feel of MNS's earlier works, but gave a bow to the drama-starved girlfriends that kept getting dragged to his scare-fests. I find the two films, more-so The Village, to be unappreciated because they were misrepresented. Hyped as "his next big thriller", The Village was a mystery/drama wrapped with a tiny bow of horror on top, and it is this little bow that could be so easily popped off of the drama box that upset fans of his work. And who can blame them? They felt cheated.

And soon after began the public dissension of his works, and for good reason. MNS's films began to take a pitfall. You can almost see a parallel between MNS's films and Adam Sandler's career choices. Both seemed to dip significantly with every release. But Sandler has the benefit of excuses involving his love of money and lack of discriminating tastes in the roles he chose. MNS was directing and writing this garbage. There was no one else to pin it on.

Every director has those films they'd like to take back. Even the greats have a few that have been publicly derided, or at least that every individual has a negative opinion of. But this excuse fell through for MNS after his 4th consecutive bomb. Lady in the Water, The Happening, The Last Airbender, After Earth...MNS was preparing a smorgasbord of crap that left him with a hugely disappointed fanbase and a nation-worth of bloodthirsty critics too tired of his failures to bother anymore.

The one decent film he was a part of in recent memory was Devil, and he wasn't even the director. He single-handedly ruined the career of one of the most highly-successful and untouchable actors in Hollywood, Will Smith. You'd think that would take an unearthly skill found only in Efrit's hometown.

But here we are. MNS is behind the helm again. But unlike his other works, which did retain a single redeemable quality that each film was an original concept, MNS is following the found footage craze over a decade too late. It's unlike him to take this route. Win or lose, he has always pushed his own ideas and creativity. While that hasn't worked in recent years, the formula of taking your own directorial issues and mixing them with the most over-used horror trope since horny teen campers, seems like a recipe for disaster.

Yet, the trailer shows promise. Are we going to see a revival? Perhaps a rebirth of one of the most meteoric rise/fall horror directors of this time? I suppose we'll find out. But, the twinkle of hope this heartless pair holds onto is dwindling into darkness and this director is about to lose patience from any respectable horror fan out there, if he hasn't done that already.

© 2020 Sickle and Efrit | Dalton Vanhooser & Kyle Hagan