M. Night Shyamalan Made An Arthouse Cut Of The Visit That Never Came Out

Many attribute "Split" to being M. Night Shyamalan's big mainstream comeback after a widely-publicized string of flops, and it's no surprise that the 2016 thriller is given this distinction — it was a box office and critical success, and it was revealed to be a stealth sequel to one of the director's best films. However, the success of "Split" likely would not have been possible without "The Visit," a low-budget horror thriller released the previous year that also was critically and commercially successful. Shot entirely through a found-footage presentation, it followed the exploits of two siblings (Olivia DeJonge and Ed Oxenbould) as they try to figure out what is wrong with their grandparents (Deanna Dunagan and Peter McRobbie) during a five-day vacation.

According to an interview Shyamalan did with MovieWeb back in 2015, "The Visit" had a few different cuts that focused on different elements of the movie. One was a strictly horror-focused cut, while another had a heavy emphasis on its comedy, with a blend of the two making up the final product. However, when asked about what he regretted cutting from the final cut, Shyamalan revealed that we almost got a completely different version of the film, one that leaned into a more artistic vision.

"You know, there was one other cut, an arthouse cut," he told MovieWeb. "The very first cut was the arthouse cut, and that one was really esoteric."

What could have been

M. Night Shyamalan went on to explain to MovieWeb that this "arthouse" cut had a significant number of changes to both the tone and structure of "The Visit." Comparing it to a psychological thriller, it might have been more akin to some of the director's earlier works such as "The Sixth Sense." As far as the original question about things he regretted cutting, he described one scene that actually sounded pretty cool.

"It was this bizarre speech that Pop Pop (Peter McRobbie) gives in the car, about his feeling about life," said Shyamalan. "It's so weird, and it gets more and more weird and the kids are like, 'What is this?'" He expressed regret that the Pop Pop monologue ended up getting the chopping block. However, he ultimately believed that its exclusion was ultimately for the best. After all, according to him, scrapping the original film's arcane elements made for a better story. Even if this cut would have been cool to see, we'll agree with Shyamalan here.

"What the movie is, and whatever comedy could stick to it, whatever heart could stick to it, that's what ended up being the appropriate balance," he said. "That was holding everything together."