Dir: M. Night Shyamalan, 2015
This has got to be one of the most disappointing films, ever.
It had so much potential but Shyamalan just gets everything wrong.
Brother and sister, Becca and Tyler, go to their grandma and granddad’s for a week. Their mother is estranged from the grandparents because of an argument many years before.
They arrive at their grandparents house but are suspicious about the behaviour.
The grandparents give them a set of rules they must follow, the most important of which is don’t leave your room after 21.30.
Naturally, being teenagers, they do just that and witness some very disturbing things.
Becca is a wannabe film maker and films everything.
For a start, there’s one of the problems. With the success of The Blair Witch Project, film makers latched onto the found footage genre with it being cheap to make and amateur film makers could easily make their own.
The trend hasn’t ever really stopped, but with the Paranormal Activity series doing so well, there’s been a little resurgence in using digital home video cameras.
Shyamalan hasn’t had much success as of late. His last great film was Signs which I loved. The initial pull he had after The Sixth Sense was nowhere to be seen.
Much of the film is shot through the video camera that Becca constantly carries around with her.
I can’t help but wonder if this wasn’t Shyamalan’s concession for being allowed to make a film.
The camea work is irritating. I find films to be made this way, lazy. It’s a cheap trick.
Becca and Tyler are so annoying that they take you right of out of the film. You need to care about characters , especially when they’re in peril.
But you just couldn’t care less about them. Tyler wants to be a rapper and several times we are ‘treated’ to his rap talents (or lackof).
I have no desire to listen to some vexing little brat thinking he’s Eminem!
Becca is a tad less annoying, but her instance on recording everything and thinking that she’s the new Michael Moore, grinds on you.
These traits do not add anything to the film except the want to switch it off.
If it had been shot like an actual film and not documentary style, it could have been salvageable.
There are one or two creepy moments, but that’s not enough to save a film. You need consistent scares and jumps and a uncomfortable atmosphere through the whole film.
But, the director fails on all these counts.
Maybe, I missed something but where’s the ending? There just seemed to be no resolve. Shyamalan makes a little explanation for the grandparents bizarre behaviour but there was still a lot of unanswered questions. This was so infuriating. I still felt completely in the dark, after it all.
As is usual with an M. Night Shyamalan film, there is a twist on the ending. Unfortunately, this is not up to his standard. The twist is such a let down, you think to yourself “is that it?”.
I really hope the director puts more effort into his next film because I know that he’s capable of so much more.