Comic Con 2015: M. Night Shyamalan's The Visit panel!
What happens when the king of small budget horror and the director of THE SIXTH SENSE get together? Well, here at Comic Con we had a preview of a little genre mash-up called THE VISIT directed by M. Night Shyamalan with producing giant Jason Blum of Blumhouse Productions. The two joined moderator Ryan Turek to talk about what happens when two young children go to visit their grandparents.
The Comic Con panel for the new film, held at the Horton Grand Theatre in San Diego, was an hour of lighthearted commentary on Shyamalan’s work and the idea of making a (don’t call it) comedy horror movie. After watching the trailer, both the director and the producer talked about making their latest.
- Jason Blum has been wanting to work with M. Night for years. When Shyamalan finally agreed to let Mr. Blum know that he would, he had already made THE VISIT on his own.
- THE VISIT scared Jason Blum who doesn’t scare easy. As well, he enjoyed the humor in the film.
The film is about the forgiveness of family, and the darkness that comes with not forgiving.
- M. Night empathizes with the fifteen-year-old, inspiring filmmaker daughter, played by Olivia DeJonge.
- The deterioration of the grandparents is the catalyst for the fear factor in the film.
- Shyamalan added that he likes the feeling of laughing yet being scared which he focused on this movie.
- M. Night wants to tell stories that are original and haven't been told before in a prepackaged world, where many studios only spend money on a proven formula.
- The director calls Jason Blum the “champion of horror,” someone who trusts his gut when it comes to the genre.
- Shyamalan had seen PARANORMAL ACTIVITY years before but didn’t have the “tenacity or vision to fight the fight” to produce the film.
- M. Night wanted to make THE VISIT something that would be accessible to a wide audience.
- Ryan Turek asked about working on a small scale in isolation as opposed to a bigger film. Shyamalan claimed that THE VISIT was similar to making THE SIXTH SENSE thanks to Bruce Willis who believed in the director when he was making it, so he was able to make the film he wanted to make. Working on this film gave him similar freedom.
- We saw a quick scene where the daughter was filming her grandmother laughing hysterically, while rocking in a rocking chair. When she asked her grandmother if she was alright, the old woman replies that the laughter keeps the “deep darkies in a cave.”
THE VISIT has no score, only sound effects to evoke scares. It was something he had always wanted to do.
- The director called THE VISIT a hybrid, David Lynch-y type of film, but Blum said with a laugh that that is not how they are marketing it.
- Jason Blum said this is not a horror comedy. It is a thriller with funny moments but not a horror comedy.
- Shyamalan offered that if humor in darker material works with the character as it did in DIE HARD when Bruce Willis made jokes, it worked because it was true to the character. Yet it is difficult to make it work well, and it has to be “character correct.”
- M. Night has two regrets. He regrets not making LIFE OF PI as well as a romantic drama he wrote called LABOR OF LOVE.
- Shyamalan cannot control the reviews and criticism of his work. He prefers to put his energy into his characters and making that his focus. Yet Jason Blum has difficulty letting go of criticism, because he reads all the reviews, good and bad.
THE VISIT opens on September 11, 2015.
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