Continuing right along with my catch-up on Shyamalan films, I decided to look at one that I was genuinely interested in after hearing mostly good things about it. People often refer to this film as Shyamalan's general resurrection with his previous films being the major bombs of 'The Last Airbender' and 'After Earth' - neither of which I've seen, and neither of which will end up on this review list anytime soon.
It's my opinion that he went back to the solid twist here. Some of his twists end up being these deep and profound things that the audience has to think about long and hard. Probably the worst example of this, to me, being 'Signs'. But the "solid twist" I speak of is something more, well, solid. Not something you have to mull over, but just something cool and interesting like the endings of 'The Sixth Sense' and 'Unbreakable'.
This film is done in a found footage style, but it's the cleanest found footage you'll probably ever see. That's kinda one of those "take it or leave it" aspects of the film. It might not bother you, but you know it doesn't look realistic. That said, I know nothing about the cameras used, so take what I say with a grain of salt.
Two kids, Becca (Olivia DeJong) and Tyler (Ed Oxenbound) (both of whom were recently in 'Better Watch Out') head on a trip to visit their grandparents who they haven't met yet. This is due to a falling out the grandparents had with the kids' mother when she was still young, but there's strong refusal to talk about what went down, and that's the big "guessing game" portion of the film. Anyway, the kids start noticing that the grandparents are constantly acting very strange, and though everything has it's own explanation, there's still a strong suspicion that maybe their grandparents aren't exactly your average everyday old folks.
To their credit, you get to know and like these kids all right. You don't fall in love with them, but you get them and what they're about. Perhaps what's best done here is that you definitely feel their fear when it's necessary, and the found footage aspect really lends itself to what the movie is trying to do.
This is easily one of his best titles, in my humble opinion. I have to admit that I thought I knew how this all ended, but I was actually kinda taken aback when it was all said and done. It's not perfect, and actually very simple when all is considered, but to me that's actually refreshing. I was hoping things weren't gonna get deep and confusing again. The ending gives you a nice "holy shit" moment, after spending the whole movie second-guessing yourself. It's almost like a 'Mind Trap' question, where the answer tends to be ridiculously simple, but you end up overthinking.
But hey, maybe that's just me and how I felt about it. Truth be told, I actually enjoyed this quite a bit. It's not a favorite, but after Shyamalan recognized that he was drowning, it feels like he came back hard with this title. This makes for a fun haunted house film, often make you uncomfortable as you watch and guess, and plays with your fears quite well.