In M. Night Shyamalan’s 2015 horror film, ‘The Visit,’ the audience accompanies a pair of young protagonists on a trip that leads to more menacing outcomes than one expects from a visit to Grandma’s house. After their distant grandparents, Nana and Pop Pop, reach out to teenage sibling duo Becca and Tyler, the pair takes the former up on their invitation for a week-long stay. However, upon arrival, armed with several cameras for Becca’s documentary, the two quickly begin noticing the strange happenings that seem to occur at the house after nightfall. Thus, the kids find themselves fending for themselves as each day unravels more erratic behavior by their aging grandparents, with the night bringing something more sinister.
The found footage film builds a compelling thriller narrative that gradually boosts its suspense until the final act delivers a startling and much-anticipated plot twist that fans have come to expect from the filmmaker. Nonetheless, the same conclusive twist may have left some of the viewers with a few questions. SPOILERS AHEAD!
The Visit Plot Synopsis
In her late teens, Loretta Jamison ran away with a substitute teacher from her high school, Corin, causing a rift between herself and her parents. As a result, years later, after Corin has abandoned his family, Loretta’s 15-year-old daughter, Becca, and 14-year-old Tyler have never met their grandparents. However, their distant relationship stands to change when the old couple reaches out to their grandkids, extending a home-visit invitation. Even though Loretta is against the idea, she doesn’t try to stop her children after they decide to visit her childhood home.
As such, while Loretta leaves for a cruise with her boyfriend, her kids take the train to visit their grandparents with promises of routine Skype calls. Becca, an aspiring filmmaker, decides to document the entire thing in hopes of learning the specifics about her mother and grandparents’ falling out. Consequently, Bella and Fredrick Spencer arrive at the train station on Monday morning to pick up their grandkids with enthusiastic smiles. Their first day together goes smoothly, and as it comes to an end, the kids’ grandpa, Pop Pop, instructs them about a 9:30 bedtime rule.
Although the kids don’t think of it much at first, Becca learns the merit of following through with the rule after she ventures out for a midnight snack and witnesses her Nana, sick and frantically throwing up. Even more frightening, the morning after, the woman abruptly and manically chases the kids under the house’s crawlspace during an impromptu game of hide-n-seek. Throughout the day, the kids’ concern grows further after noticing a few disturbing things about Pop Pop, such as his lack of bowel control and tendency to attack strangers in a fit of paranoia.
The following night, Tyler’s worries grow after he spots Nana wildly scratching at the walls outside the kids’ guest room in a stark state of undress. However, after Becca asks Pop Pop about the older woman’s condition, she receives a plausible answer about Nana’s sundowning issue, establishing her concerning after-hours behavior is similar to sleepwalking.
The explanation satisfies Becca, who attempts to return to her mission to learn about her mother’s relationship with Nana and Pop Pop. Still, she doesn’t make much progress since the topic seems to trigger a violent episode in her grandmother. Meanwhile, Tyler remains weary of his grandparents’ actions and insists they should spy on them by setting up cameras in the living room. Although Becca is initially against the idea, she agrees after walking in on Pop Pop with a rifle’s barrel in his mouth.
Even so, the plan backfires when Nana spots the camera on her nightly manic episode and attempts to break into the kids’ room armed with a knife. Once Becca realizes their lives may be in danger after reviewing the night’s footage, she decides to ask Loretta to pick them up on account of the dangerous circumstances. However, the kids are in for a big surprise when they show the elderly couple to their mother from a window, only to learn that the people they have spent the past few days with are not their grandparents.
The Visit Ending: Who Are The Old Couple? What Did They Do To The Real Grandparents?
As a slow burn of mourning suspense and horror, the film reveals Nana and Pop Pop’s concerning attributes in slow bouts. At first, the behavior that the couple exhibits can be easily explained as a condition of their old age, with sundowning, memory issues, and paranoia forming the baseline. Yet, as the film progresses, the old couple becomes more and more dangerous— first toward themselves and then the kids.
Due to Loretta’s dramatic exit from her parents’ house, the woman seldom speaks to the couple, even as she regularly calls the kids. Furthermore, a seemingly innocent accident damages Becca’s webcam, robbing the mother of any visual cues. Therefore, it isn’t until Thursday morning, when Becca and Tyler have begun fearing for their lives, that Loretta glimpses at the old couple. Consequently, she realizes all this time, her kids have been living with a pair of strangers who are pretending to be their grandparents.
The revelation immediately sets Loretta into action, who tries to contact the cops and reach her kids as soon as possible. In the meantime, she advises her kids to seek help from the neighbors to put distance between themselves and the imposters. Nevertheless, the old couple prevents Becca and Tyler from leaving the house with the idea of a family game night. Thus, with tension in the air, the kids find themselves enduring a game of Yahtzee until the old woman’s incoming mental episode gives Becca an excuse to slip away.
Using the opportunity to explore the house and learn about the imposters, Becca ventures into the forbidden basement, where she suspects her actual grandparents to be. Inside, she finds all the answers to her questions as Becca’s hunch turns out to be true in the worst way possible.
As it would turn out, the imposter old couple is a pair of psychiatric hospital patients, where the actual Bella and Patrick Spencer volunteered. The psychotic couple believed they were from an alien planet, Sinmorfitellia. As such, the pair drowned their own kids inside a well that they believed to hold a passage to the alien planet. For the same reason, they were being under monitoring in the psychic hospital.
Nonetheless, the couple escaped their bounds after the Spencers revealed their plans for a family reunion with their grandkids. Envious of the other couple, the imposters, Claire and Mitchell, killed the former pair and overtook their identities to spend the week with Becca and Tyler. Consequently, the duo managed to evade outsiders anytime they came looking for them at the house and ultimately killed their neighbor, Stacey, when she realized their reality.
Soon after Becca learns this truth, Mitchell locks her up in a room with a psychotic Claire, undergoing her violent episode. Despite their earlier attempts at domestic bliss, the couple’s instincts compel them to harm the children. Nevertheless, before the older woman can choke Becca to death, the girl manages to get her hands on a mirror shard and stabs her attacker to death. Afterward, she rushes to her younger brother’s aid, whom Mitchel is psychologically torturing.
However, with his sister’s element of surprise, Tyler manages to overpower Mitchell, unleashing raw rage and bashing the older man to death by slamming the refrigerator door at his head. Ultimately, after killing the old couple pretending to be their grandparents, Becca and Tyler make it out of the experience alive and reunite with their mother.
Why Did Loretta Stop Talking To Her Parents?
By the film’s end, Loretta’s sore relationship with her parents remains the one last mystery. Arguably, the woman’s reluctance to speak to her parents played a part in the kids’ entrapment since the latter had no point of reference to distinguish their relatives from strangers. Furthermore, part of Becca’s curiosity about her grandparents stemmed from Loretta’s refusal to speak about them to her own kids.
As such, after Becca and Tyler have returned to the safety of their home, Loretta sits down for one last interview for her daughter’s documentary, where she speaks about her past with her parents. When 19-year-old Loretta tried to run away from home with Corin, her high school teacher, the former’s parents wanted to stop her. Nevertheless, the same only resulted in an altercation where Loretta hit her mother, followed by the former’s father hitting his daughter.
Therefore, Loretta’s last day on the farm gave birth to several familial complications. Although Loretta’s parents tried to apologize and solve things afterward, the woman continued to avoid them years and years into the future. For the same reason, Loretta imparts a lesson to her daughter to never hold grudges so hard that they end up ruining things. In turn, Becca, who despises her father for abandoning them, decides to learn from her mother’s mistakes. Unlike Loretta, who refused to speak to her parents, leading to regret after their death, Becca chooses to include home videos of her father in the documentary to close the narrative as a sign of her forgiveness.
Read More: Is The Visit Based on a True Story?