M. Night Shyamalan has been discussing upcoming release The Visit with Digital Spy and has revealed that he is not a fan of the found footage genre, describing it as “haphazard” with “no cinematic intent behind it.”
The Visit is shot in a documentary style, but as Shyamalan is quick to point out, there’s a big difference between documentary and found footage. “There isn’t a single word said in it that isn’t written or a single shot that wasn’t storyboarded,” says the director. “I make the big distinction between documentaries and found footage. Documentary has cinematic intent, beauty, art, aesthetics. Found footage is really haphazard and there’s no cinematic intent behind it, it’s just capturing something. The film plays with documentary. Found footage is only in a small area at the end.”
The film was made on a meagre $5 million budget, and as Shyamalan remarks, it’s tricky to get things done on a medium scale in modern Hollywood. “It is a strange industry right now, that doesn’t mean you couldn’t make Sixth Sense today, there’s just less of a chance to make a movie in the middle budget range,” he says. “There’s two sources of costs, there’s the movie cost and the marketing cost. Together they’re such a big number, so when you’re doing a really small budget movie you’re shrinking one cost so much and only taking the risk on one side.”
“That’s why The Visit gets made, it feels like this can win. On the other side when you’re making a $300 million CGI movie, marketing can be $150 million – however, the win can be more than $1 billion. They feel like it’s still worth that gamble. In their strange equation the $40-$50 million drama is a much higher risk. It’s a weird time, I hope it’s cyclical and more of a balance comes.” The Visit opens in the UK today.