The Uninvited

"Bad"

The Uninvited Review


As part of our ongoing battle with mortality, ghosts have become a comforting conduit to "the other side." No longer are they purely spectral poltergeists bent on driving the living insane. Instead, if you believe most of the movies made since the arrival of Eastern horror on these Western shores, these supernatural envoys are hell-bent on warning the living about the unholy terrors crawling beneath their very noses. In the case of the burnt-up phantom at the center of this remake of the Korean hit A Tale of Two Sisters, the message is loud and clear: Stay away from the incessantly dull American version.

After 10 months in a psychiatric hospital, young Anna Rydell (Emily Browning) returns to her family home in Maine. There she must face a distant father (David Strathairn), sarcastic sister Alex (Arielle Kebbel), and the newest member of the clan, nurse turned girlfriend Rachel Summers (Elizabeth Banks). You see, Anna's mother got very sick -- so sick that Dad had to hire a blond bimbette to care for her. Naturally, their relationship turned sexual, and all Anna remembers a bell, a fire, a horrific death, and a stint in the loony bin. Now that she's back, she wants to remember what happened -- and all signs point to Rachel as some kind of brash black widow. Anna is convinced that her Dad's new galpal is out to destroy the family, and there are ghosts from a supernatural realm who appear to agree.

The Uninvited is piffle, a Lifetime family drama masquerading as a stand-up big screen horror film. To call it generic would be an understatement -- it's so obvious in what it tries to accomplish that it practically provides a roadmap. Directed with little or no panache by Britain's Guard brothers (Charles and Thomas) and featuring one of the most overused twists in the entire Sixth Sense school of scares, this is a movie made up solely of false shocks and dull stretches of pseudo seriousness. There are frequently times when we're not sure if this is supposed to be The Grudge or Shoot the Moon. The tone is so uneven, the narrative threads so patently unraveled, that there's no way to get a handle on what is happening.

In the Korean original, the ambiguity of what is going on lends the finale a far less substantive spin. We can go back over events and realize how much was real and how much was manipulated and manufactured. Here, the script simply gives up the whodunit set up, puts Banks in the spotlight as the main suspect, and then gamely tosses red herrings at the screen. By the time of the big reveal, we don't nod in appreciation as much as shrug our shoulders in disbelief. The Guards do so little to prepare for the big unveiling that the moment comes off as confusing, and ultimately counterproductive, to everything we've seen before.

And it's too bad really, because Banks does a very good job at playing implied evil. She finds little ways of reading her open-ended lines to convince us that she's no good. Strathairn is given the thankless job of playing one of those out-of-touch fathers who can't help but ignore everything his pleading, desperate daughters say. As the heroines, Browning and Kebbel are willing, if grating at times. With the need to play most of the secrets very close to the vest, the performances must really be convincing. In the case of our young leads, they're just adequate. In fact, everything about this flaccid film needed to be tweaked a notch or two. As it stands, it barely delivers a single shiver.

Certainly deserved an invitation.



The Uninvited

Facts and Figures

Run time: 87 mins

In Theaters: Friday 30th January 2009

Box Office USA: $28.6M

Box Office Worldwide: $28.6M

Distributed by: DreamWorks/Paramount Studios

Production compaines: DreamWorks SKG, Vertigo Entertainment, Cold Spring Pictures, The Montecito Picture Company, MacDonald/Parkes Productions, Medien 5 Filmproduktion

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 1.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 31%
Fresh: 40 Rotten: 87

IMDB: 6.4 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: Charles Guard, Thomas Guard

Producer: Roy Lee, , Walter F. Parkes

Starring: as Anna, as Alex, as Steven, as Rachael, Maya Massar as Mom, as Sheriff Emery, as Matthew Hendricks, Dean Paul Gibson as Dr. Silberling, Heather Doerksen as Mildred Kemp

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

Contactmusic 2017 Exclusive

New Movies

Hidden Figures Movie Review

Hidden Figures Movie Review

This film recounts such a great true story that we don't mind the fact that...

The Founder Movie Review

The Founder Movie Review

This is the story of Ray Kroc, the man who created the concept of McDonald's....

John Wick: Chapter 2 Movie Review

John Wick: Chapter 2 Movie Review

Keanu Reeves picks up his supremely efficient hitman immediately where the 2015 original left him:...

Fences Movie Review

Fences Movie Review

After winning Tony Awards on Broadway, Denzel Washington and Viola Davis reteam for a film...

The Lego Batman Movie Movie Review

The Lego Batman Movie Movie Review

A spin-off from 2014's awesome The Lego Movie, this raucously paced action-comedy is proof that...

The Space Between Us Movie Review

The Space Between Us Movie Review

While the premise of this movie makes it look like a sci-fi adventure, the truth...

Toni Erdmann Movie Review

Toni Erdmann Movie Review

On paper, the idea of a two-hour 40-minute German comedy may not seem very promising,...

Advertisement
Gold Movie Review

Gold Movie Review

Based on a true story, this lively and sometimes outrageous adventure is packed with twists...

Loving Movie Review

Loving Movie Review

While this film tackles a huge issue in the history of race relations in America,...

T2 Trainspotting Movie Review

T2 Trainspotting Movie Review

It's been 20 years since we last saw four freewheeling young junkies from Edinburgh spiral...

Hacksaw Ridge Movie Review

Hacksaw Ridge Movie Review

Based on an astounding true story, this battlefield drama mixes warm emotion with intense action...

Sing Movie Review

Sing Movie Review

The quality of the animation in this musical comedy may not be up to Pixar...

Jackie Movie Review

Jackie Movie Review

Rather than make a standard biopic about the most famous First Lady in American history,...

Split Movie Review

Split Movie Review

After a few badly received sci-fi blockbusters, M. Night Shyamalan returned to his earthier style...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.