The Visit

the-visit-movie-poster Universal (2015) 94 min. PG-13

Director: M. Night Shyamalan

Screenplay: M. Night Shyamalan

Cinematography: Maryse Alberti; Editing: Luke Franco Ciarrocchi

Production Design: Naaman Marshall; Set Decoration: Christine Wick

Costumes: Amy Westcott; Score: Paul Cantelon

Stars: Olivia DeJonge (Rebecca Jamison), Ed Oxenbould (Tyler Jamison), Kathryn Hahn (Paula Jamison), Deanna Dunagan (Nana), Peter McRobbie (Pop Pop), Benjamin Kanes (Robert Mendelsohn), Celia Keenan-Bolger (Stacey)

When director M. Night Shyamalan’s The Sixth Sense was originally released, way back when, playing concurrent with The Blair Witch Project, the two movies went head to head in a standoff to determine which path horror would head down in the new millennium. The Sixth Sense was professionally put together and stylistically innovative, with a pull the rug out from under you sensibility that toyed with its own narrative form and the concept of visual storytelling itself. The Blair Witch Project on the other hand swung to the opposite extreme with its amateurish, low-budget, hardscrabble approach paring both horror and cinema down to their bare essentials in order to play on viewers’ most primal fears of the unseen and the unknown.

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Chronicle

Chronicle poster20th Century Fox (2012) 84 min. PG-13

Director: Josh Trank

Screenplay: Max Landis; Story: Max Landis & Josh Trank

Cinematography: Matthew Jensen; Editing: Elliot Greenberg

Production Design: Stephen Altman; Set Decoration: Fred Du Preez

Costumes: Diana Cilliers; Score: Andrea von Foerster

Stars: Dane DeHaan (Andrew Detmer), Alex Russell (Matt Garetty), Michael B. Jordan (Steve Montgomery), Michael Kelly (Richard Detmer), Ashley Hinshaw (Casey Letter), Bo Petersen (Karen Detmer), Anna Wood (Monica)

On the cusp of another summer of blockbuster blitzkrieg, one can only hope moviemakers look to their laurels by revisiting one of the finest superhero movies of recent years. Forget all the over-marketed, big-budgeted Dark Knight Rises, Avengers and Amazing Spider-Mans that glutted the franchise market back in 2012. Chronicle, a modest little sleeper by comparison, directed by Josh Trank and written by Trank and Max Landis, with shoestring special effects, a teensploitation plotline and derivative handheld video camerawork, still emerged as the most creative, original superhero movie of that year. Or, to be more accurate, the best secret origin story of a supervillain. The revisionist storyline was clever enough to subvert our initial expectations. Continue reading