The Visit (2015 American film)

The Visit is a 2015 American found footage horror film written, co-produced and directed by M. Night Shyamalan and starring Olivia DeJonge, Ed Oxenbould, Deanna Dunagan, Peter McRobbie, and Kathryn Hahn. The film centers around two young siblings, teenage girl Becca (DeJonge) and her younger brother Tyler (Oxenbould) who go to stay with their estranged grandparents. During their stay, the siblings notice their grandparents behaving bizarrely and they set out to find the truth behind the strange circumstances at the farmstead.

The Visit
Theatrical release poster
Directed byM. Night Shyamalan
Written byM. Night Shyamalan
Produced by
CinematographyMaryse Alberti
Edited byLuke Ciarrocchi
Distributed byUniversal Pictures
Release dates
  • August 30, 2015 (2015-08-30) (Dublin)
  • September 11, 2015 (2015-09-11) (United States)
Running time
94 minutes[1]
CountryUnited States
Budget$5 million[2]
Box office$98.5 million[3]

The film was released in North America on September 11, 2015, by Universal Pictures. It grossed $98.5 million worldwide against a $5 million production budget and received positive reviews from critics, with many calling it a return-to-form for Shyamalan's career.



Two siblings from Philadelphia, Becca and Tyler, prepare for a five-day visit with their grandparents while their divorced mother Loretta goes on a cruise with her boyfriend. Loretta reveals that she has not spoken to her parents in 15 years after marrying her high-school teacher, of whom her parents disapproved. Having never met their grandparents, the teens plan to record a documentary film about their visit using a camcorder.

Becca and Tyler meet their grandparents, referred to as "Nana" and "Pop Pop," at a train station. When they arrive at their isolated farmhouse, Becca and Tyler are instructed to never go into the basement because it contains mold, and that bedtime is at 9:30 every evening, after which they should not leave their room. Although at first, the grandparents seem pleasant, their behavior gradually becomes peculiar. The first night, an hour past curfew, Becca ventures downstairs for something to eat and sees Nana projectile vomiting. During the day, Nana chases the teens while they play hide-and-seek. Later, Tyler finds a pile of soiled diapers in the shed. In town, Pop Pop attacks a man he thinks is following them. When challenged, both grandparents are dismissive of each other's behavior. As the erratic behavior intensifies, Becca and Tyler's documentary-style film evolves into one of mystery-solving and evidence collection.

A woman Nana and Pop Pop helped in counseling brings a blueberry cobbler to thank them, but following a confrontation is not seen leaving. Concerned about the series of strange events, Tyler decides to secretly film the living room during the night, but Nana discovers the camera and tries unsuccessfully to break into the children's locked bedroom with a knife.

Upon watching the footage of Nana with the knife, Becca and Tyler video call Loretta and beg her to collect them. They use the laptop camera to show Loretta the odd behavior of her parents, who are outside the house. Upon seeing them, Loretta, distressed, identifies that the couple her children have been staying with are not her parents. Realizing they have been staying with strangers, the teenagers try to escape the house and discover the visitor who went missing hanging from a tree. The "grandparents" find the children and force them to play Yahtzee. Later, Becca sneaks into the basement and finds the decomposed corpses of their real grandparents, along with uniforms from the psychiatric hospital at which they worked, revealing that their "grandparents" are actually escaped patients. Pop Pop grabs Becca and imprisons her in his bedroom with Nana, who tries to attack her in a psychotic fit. He then tortures Tyler by smearing his face with his dirty diaper. Following a struggle, Becca fatally stabs Nana with a glass shard from a broken mirror, then runs to the kitchen and attacks Pop Pop. As Pop Pop gains the upper hand, Tyler knocks him to the floor and kills him by repeatedly bashing his head with the refrigerator door. The teens escape outside, where they are met by their mother and police officers.

In the aftermath, Becca asks Loretta about what happened the day she left home fifteen years earlier. Loretta reflects that she had a major argument with her parents, during which she hit her mother and was then struck by her father. Loretta then left home and ignored their attempts to contact her. Loretta concludes that reconciliation was always possible had she wanted it. She tells Becca not to hold on to anger over her father's abandonment, and Becca decides to include footage of her father in their documentary after earlier saying she would not do so.

Back home, Tyler records and does a freestyle rap about his and Becca's misadventure with the fake grandparents, while Becca looks on approvingly.







After The Last Airbender and After Earth failed critically, Shyamalan funded The Visit by borrowing $5 million against his home.[5]



Filming began on February 19, 2014, under the preliminary title Sundowning.[6] Sundowning is the increased restlessness and confusion of some dementia patients during the afternoon and evening.[7] Shyamalan's Blinding Edge Pictures was the production company, with Shyamalan and Marc Bienstock producing, and Steven Schneider and Ashwin Rajan as executive producers.[8][9]

Although thousands of American children were auditioned for the film's two lead roles of Becca and Tyler, in what Shyamalan later characterized as a "total fluke", he eventually selected a pair of relatively unknown Australian juvenile actors, Olivia DeJonge and Ed Oxenbould, to portray the film's dual Philadelphia-native teenage protagonists.[10][11]

Every Hollywood studio passed on the rough cut, and Shyamalan feared that he would lose the millions he had invested in the film.[5] Shyamalan admitted that he had trouble keeping the tone for the film consistent during the editing phase, telling Bloody Disgusting that the first cut of the film resembled an art house film more than a horror film. A second cut went in the opposite direction and the film became a comedy. He eventually struck a middle balance and cut the film as a thriller, which, according to him, helped tie the different elements together as they "could stay in service of the movie".[12] After revisions Universal Pictures agreed to distribute the film, and producer Jason Blum and his company Blumhouse Productions were included in the film's opening.[13][5]



There is no film score for most of the film, as is common for found footage films. Paul Cantelon is credited for "epilogue theme". A few songs are heard during the film.



Universal began The Visit's theatrical wide release in the United States on September 11, 2015.[14] On April 17, 2015, the first official trailer was released to theaters, attached to the film Unfriended, and it was released online later that week.[13][15] The film premiered in the Republic of Ireland on August 30, 2015, in a special screening that was attended by Shyamalan.[16]

Home media


The Visit was released on Blu-ray and DVD on January 5, 2016.[17]



Box office


The Visit grossed over $65.2 million in the United States and Canada and over $33.2 million in other territories for a worldwide total of over $98.4 million, against a budget of $5 million.[3] The film grossed $25.4 million in its opening weekend, finishing second at the box office behind The Perfect Guy by just $460,000.[18] Shyamalan kept a list of Hollywood executives who had refused to distribute The Visit, stating in 2018 that most had since lost their jobs.[5]

Critical response


The Visit received generally positive reviews from critics.[19] On review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 68%, based on 231 reviews, with an average rating of 5.9/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "The Visit provides horror fans with a satisfying blend of thrills and laughs – and also signals a welcome return-to-form for writer-director M. Night Shyamalan."[20] On Metacritic the film has a score of 55 out of 100 based on 34 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[21] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "B−" on an A+ to F scale.[22]

Scott Mendelson from Forbes called Shyamalan's film a "deliciously creepy and funny little triumph". He also wrote, "The Visit is the one we've been waiting for, folks. It's good. Oh my word, is it good. But more importantly, it is excellent in that specific way that reminds us why M. Night Shyamalan was once such a marvel. It is richly humanistic, filled with individually sketched characters that often sparkle with wit and surprising decency."[23] In The New York Times, Manohla Dargis described the film as "an amusingly-grim fairy tale". Shyamalan has gone back to basics, "with a stripped-down story and scale, a largely-unknown (excellent) cast and one of those classically-tinged tales of child peril that have reliably spooked audiences for generations".[24] She, along with other critics,[25][26] saw the film as a modern-day version of the classic fairytale Hansel and Gretel.

In his column for The Observer, Mark Kermode panned the film, saying it may be worse than Lady in the Water. He wrote, "Is it meant to be a horror film? Or a comedy? The publicity calls it 'an original thriller' but it is neither of those things. Only 'endurance test' adequately describes the ill-judged shenanigans that ensue."[27] Mike McCahill gave the film one star (out of five) in his review for The Guardian, and said it was "dull, derivative and flatly unscary."[28]


Award Category Subject Result
Fangoria Chainsaw Awards Best Wide Release Film M. Night Shyamalan Nominated
Best Supporting Actress Deanna Dunagan 3rd place
Fright Meter Awards Won
Golden Raspberry Award Razzie Redeemer Award M. Night Shyamalan Nominated
Golden Schmoes Award Best Horror Movie of the Year Nominated
Online Film & Television Association Award Best Youth Performance Ed Oxenbould Nominated
Phoenix Film Critics Society Best Performance by a Youth Nominated
Rondo Hatton Classic Horror Rondo Statuette for Best Movie M. Night Shyamalan Nominated
Saturn Awards Best Horror Film Nominated
Best Performance by a Younger Actor Olivia DeJonge Nominated
Young Artist Award Best Leading Young Actress in a Feature Film Nominated


  1. ^ "The Visit". British Board of Film Classification. Retrieved August 13, 2015.
  2. ^ "The Visit (2015)". The Numbers. Nash Information Services, LLC. Retrieved February 19, 2021.
  3. ^ a b "The Visit (2015)". Box Office Mojo. IMDb. Archived from the original on February 11, 2021. Retrieved February 11, 2021.
  4. ^ a b c d e f "The Visit also stars Erica Lynne Marszalek, Peter McRobbie, Olivia DeJonge, Deanna Dunagan, Benjamin Kanes, Jon Douglas Rainey, Brian Gildea, Shawn Gonzalez, Richard Barlow, Steve Annan, and Michael Mariano". Bloody Disgusting. Retrieved January 16, 2014.
  5. ^ a b c d Hiatt, Brian (December 20, 2018). "The Fall and Rise of M. Night Shyamalan". Rolling Stone.
  6. ^ Billington, Alex (February 26, 2014). "M. Night Shyamalan is Now Filming Microbudget Horror 'Sundowning'".
  7. ^ Khachiyants N, Trinkle D, Son SJ, Kim KY (2011). "Sundown syndrome in persons with dementia: an update". Psychiatry Investig. 8 (4): 275–87. doi:10.4306/pi.2011.8.4.275. PMC 3246134. PMID 22216036.
  8. ^ Anderton, Ethan (March 24, 2014). "M. Night Shyamalan's Low Budget 'Sundowning' Plot & Cast Revealed".
  9. ^ Sneider, Jeff (March 21, 2014). "M. Night Shyamalan's 'Sundowning' Stars Kathryn Hahn, Ed Oxenbould (Exclusive)". TheWrap. Retrieved August 29, 2015.
  10. ^ Sue Yeap (September 24, 2015). "Scary fun at Nana's place". The West Australian. Archived from the original on January 31, 2016. Retrieved January 2, 2016.
  11. ^ Neala Johnson (September 15, 2015). "How Aussie kids Olivia DeJonge and Ed Oxenbould survived the scares of M. Night Shyamalan's The Visit". The News Corp Australia Network. Retrieved January 2, 2016.
  12. ^ "[Interview] M. Night Shyamalan On 'The Visit,' His First True Horror Film!". Bloody-Disgusting. July 11, 2015. Retrieved September 14, 2015.
  13. ^ a b Michelle McCue (April 18, 2015). "M. Night Shyamalan's THE VISIT Trailer Attached To UNFRIENDED; First Poster In Theaters". We Are Movie Geeks. Retrieved August 29, 2015.
  14. ^ "M. Night Shyamalan's 'The Visit' Has "Disturbing Thematic Material"". Bloody Disgusting. Retrieved January 16, 2014.
  15. ^ Shyamalan, M. Night [@MNightShyamalan] (April 18, 2015). "It'll be online next week!" (Tweet). Retrieved August 29, 2015 – via Twitter.
  16. ^ "M Night Shyamalan in Dublin for The Visit". RTE. August 30, 2015.
  17. ^ "The Visit (2015) Release Dates". Movie Insider. Retrieved February 29, 2016.
  18. ^ Busch, Anita. "'The Perfect Guy' Edges Out 'The Visit' To Take No. 1 — B.O. Final". Deadline. Retrieved September 15, 2015.
  19. ^ "The Perfect Guy' scares off 'The Visit' at Friday's box office". LA September 12, 2015. Retrieved September 15, 2015.
  20. ^ "The Visit (2015)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved August 9, 2022.
  21. ^ "The Visit (2015)". Metacritic. Fandom, Inc. Retrieved February 19, 2021.
  22. ^ "'The Perfect Guy' Scores On Date Night, 'The Visit' Stays Strong – B.O. Friday". September 14, 2015.
  23. ^ "M. Night Shyamalan's 'The Visit' Is A Glorious Return To Form". Forbes. Retrieved September 18, 2015.
  24. ^ Dargis, Manohla (September 10, 2015). "Review: 'The Visit' Is 'Hansel and Gretel' With Less Candy and More Camcorders". The New York Times. Retrieved September 18, 2015.
  25. ^ Murphy, Kathleen (September 10, 2015). "Film Review: The Visit". Retrieved February 4, 2017.
  26. ^ O'Malley, Sheila. "The Visit Movie Review & Film Summary (2015) - Roger Ebert". Retrieved February 4, 2017.
  27. ^ "Review: 'ill-judged shenanigans from M Night Shyamalan'". The Guardian. September 13, 2015. Retrieved September 13, 2015.
  28. ^ "Review: 'M Night Shyamalan's found-footage loser'". The Guardian. September 10, 2015. Retrieved September 16, 2015.