Shyamalan creeps into micro-budget horror with 'The Visit'

Fri Sep 11, 2015 1:04pm EDT
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By Piya Sinha-Roy

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Nana and Pop Pop seem like the perfect grandparents. They bake cookies, go for long walks and volunteer at a local psychiatric hospital. But after the sun goes down, things get weird in M. Night Shyamalan's latest horror movie, "The Visit."

The film, out in theaters on Friday, follows teen siblings Becca (Olivia DeJonge) and Tyler (Ed Oxenbould) as they are sent by their single mother to meet her estranged parents for the first time and stay with them for a week.

Shyamalan, 45, known for supernatural movies such as "The Sixth Sense" and "Signs," channels his own teen filmmaker self into the precocious Becca, an aspiring documentarian who films everything during their visit, including the bizarre behavior of her grandparents as night falls.

The film was written, directed and produced by Shyamalan on a micro-budget of under $5 million. He partnered with horror producer Jason Blum and Comcast Corp's Universal Pictures for distribution.

"I love constraints, both financially and creatively," Shyamalan told Reuters. "Passive entertainment, where you do everything for the audience, is not what interests me. I want you to fill in gaps ... the budget helps you think like that."

The film has earned mixed reviews and is projected by to open with $17 million this weekend.

"The Visit" follows Shyamalan's first foray into television as the executive producer of Fox's 10-part summer sci-fi mystery thriller "Wayward Pines."

The hit TV show, set in a town shrouded from the outside world, "directly affected 'The Visit' and how I shot it," Shyamalan said, referring to the faster pace and smaller budgets of working in television.   Continued...

Director M. Night Shyamalan poses for a portrait during the 2015 Comic-Con International Convention in San Diego, California in this July 9, 2015 file photo.  REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni/Files