Becca and her younger brother Tyler (Olivia DeJonge and Ed Oxenbould) say goodbye to her single mother (Kathryn Hahn) as they board a train and head to Pennsylvania to meet their grandparents for the first time while she goes on a cruise with her boyfriend Miguel (Jorge Cordova). Welcomed by their grandmother (Deanna Dunagan) and their grandfather (Peter McRobbie), all is fine until both children notice that their seemingly innocent grandparents begin to behave strangely. Once both children discover a dangerous secret, they must now wonder if they can make it out alive.
I will start off by saying do not dismiss this film just because it’s a M. Night Shyamalan film. Sure his last few films have been terrible (or so I’ve heard, I haven’t seen them personally) but this one is actually good. First of all, I liked the story. Didn’t really care too much about the fact the mom is divorced and there’s no dad. I would have liked to learn more about the backstory between the mom and the grandparents but I didn’t mind too much because it was better that they were a little mysterious. I’m not going to say much more other than to expect a twist. I don’t think I’m surprising anyone with this considering that it is a M. Night Shyamalan film. Even after watching the film, I went back through it and there are clues to what happens later on. My favorite part of the film happens to be the performances of Deanna Dunagan and Peter McRobbie as the grandparents with Dunagan stealing the show as Nana(grandmother). I thought that they were both able to portray the right amount of caring innocence and creepiness. Both children were great as well as they were still being kids but they were smart characters and that they had some great one-liners. The sad thing about that was that most of the one-liners, although sometimes funny, were at the expense of making fun of old people and all of their intricacies. I laughed at the first ones but then it started getting old. I thought the performances were elevated thanks to the script as the conversations between the brother and sister felt real and natural as did that with the grandparents. There was good chemistry all around even with Kathryn Hahn as their mother who was good despite not getting to see her too much. This film has been advertised as a horror film but I didn’t really see that. I thought it was more of a suspense/comedy film. Where the suspense comes from the viewer waiting to figure out what is wrong with the grandparents and what are their true intentions and the comedy comes from how the children and us, to a lesser extent, try to go about doing it. I think they did a great job at both. I just wish they took a few more liberties with the story to make it scarier. While watching the film, there were a few moments that could have gone differently. This won’t spoil anything since it was in the trailer but when the grandmother asks the girl to go inside the oven to clean it, she can lock her in and turn it on. Overall, I came into this with low expectations and came out pleasantly surprised and entertained. If you give chance, maybe you will be too.