M. Night Shyamalan’s (The Sixth Sense) new film The Visit modernizes the classic fairy tale, Hansel and Gretel, with great success.
We all remember the Grimms’ fairy tale Hansel and Gretel, but sadly, we can’t forget the 2013 film Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters. (Jeremy Renner — what were you thinking?) Now, the fairy tale has inspired a new film called The Visit, borrowing these seven plot points.
1. Grandkids go to visit their Nana and Pop Pop for the first time
So there’s no evil witch per se, but young siblings Becca (Olivia DeJonge) and Tyler (Ed Oxenbould) do go to spend a week with the grandparents whom they’ve never met. While Nana (Deanna Dunagan) and Pop Pop (Peter McRobbie) don’t live in a candy house, Nana gets to baking cookies very quickly. What kid can resist sugar?
2. Into the woods
Most fairy tales take place in or around the woods because it’s the place where small children are most vulnerable to wild animals, getting lost or meeting up with undesirable people. Nana and Pop Pop’s house is conveniently located in the woods, making cellphone reception impossible.
3. Kids locked up
In the fairy tale, the witch locks Hansel in a cage. In The Visit, the kids are locked in an upstairs bedroom.
4. Becca in the oven
Nana asks Becca to help her clean the oven, insisting Becca crawl inside, but like Gretel! At one point, Nana closes the oven door on her, totally freaking out the audience.
5. Video trail
Hansel is famous for using pebbles, and then bread crumbs to make a trail so he and his sister won’t get lost. Here, Becca is an aspiring filmmaker and uses a video diary as a sort of “trail.”
6. Kids abandoned by their father
Just as Hansel and Gretel were abandoned by their woodcutter father, Becca and Tyler are also abandoned by their dad (Benjamin Kanes), who left the family for a younger woman he met at Starbucks.
7. Dementia is the new evil
Nana and Pop Pop have clearly lost their minds, easily explainable by today’s modern diagnoses of Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. It works, and we expect to see this device used in a lot more horror movies to come.
Images: Universal Pictures