Recently I sat down to watch The Uninvited, unaware of anything about the film except for a brief trailer I had once seen a while back. I was, also, unaware that it was a remake (but then again what film isn’t these days) so when I saw the credit sequence mention a Korean flick (A Tale of Two Sisters) I was mildly annoyed that I had been dooped into watching another remake… that being said I haven’t seen the original and from what I have read it’s a very different film from concept to execution, with similarities only in specific shots/scares and a few key concepts that drive the film along.
First I want to give a shout out to whoever cast the film; great job. It was great to see Emily Browning in a lead role, and the return of Arielle Kebbel in something with a little more substance then those recent B-grade slasher/horrors is refreshing, since I’ve been following her career since being impressed with her work in that horrible follow up to the American Pie trilogy; Band Camp. Elizabeth Banks is absolutely brilliant, but then again, she always is. Overall, the chemistry that they have on screen is enough to check out this flick, even if it is a remake (but I am partial to all three actresses I mentioned, so my opinion may be tainted).
The story feels like something straight out of another movie you may or may not have seen, but can’t recall the title of. We follow Emily Browning’s character, who lost her already dying mother in a tragic fire some months before, and attempted to take her own life over the loss. She comes home after ten months to find her mother’s old nurse (Banks) has moved in and is romantically involved with her Father (David Strathairn). As she tries to settle in with her sister (Arielle Kebbel) she tries to piece together the events that led up to the fire, while battling visions of her mother from beyond the grave. Stepmother = bad, Father = brainwashed by Stepmother, children = can see the truth. Pretty average stuff.
There are plot flaws, some undeveloped characters, and some pretty average camera work (though some shots are nice). What makes it interesting, however, if the film actually attempts to lull you into a false sense of cliché story plots and characters so that it can catch you off guard, and in that respect, it does its job well. I admit, until the end I wasn’t all that impressed, but the M. Night Shyamalan style twist made me do a 180 degree turn on my opinion of the film as a whole.
I can see why a lot of people wouldn’t dig the film, especially fans of the original, who consider the writers of The Uninvited as thieves and plagiarists, but that aside, I thought the film definitely delivered – not in scares mind you, but in surprise and even a little suspense. Scares weren’t great, but I didn’t really consider it a horror but more a thriller, so that didn’t bother me. I won’t give away the ending, but I do recommend giving it a watch. It won’t change your life, but it will entertain you on an otherwise boring night.
For any fans of Kebbel, she is mostly half naked throughout this entire film (like most of the films she is in) so no change there.
I will hunt down the original though, so I can do a thorough comparison. Overall I give it a solid 3 out of 5 bloody corpses. Forgettable, but entertaining none the less, though some may disagree with me (I feel Bill’s eyes already bulging, because from memory, he absolutely hated this flick… or was it somebody else?).