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I saw this film a while ago when it was on tv and I loved it, but didn't know what it was called because I'd only caught the last half an hour. Then more recently I came across it in the television magazine and decided to watch it again that night and it is genius!
The plot is quite simple, a teenage girl is in a psychiatric unit after her mum died in a fire and once the psychiatrists and doctors think that she has recovered and is no longer suicidal the doctors let her go home to live with her sister & dad. Her dad by this point has got a new girlfriend (who is much younger than him & very attractive) .
Anna, the main character doesn't like her at all and neither does her sister and they begin to believe that she is using their dad for his money and doesn't really love him, and they even start to suspect that she's drugging them.
As Anna gets used to life back at home she bumps into her old boyfriend who says that he saw what happened the night her mum died and Anna believes that it was her dads new girlfriend who killed her deliberately. When her boyfriend sneaks in late at night to tell her though it all starts to get really creepy.
The film kept me hooked and I really felt for the main character. It was almost like we ourselves were in the main characters shoes; confused and not knowing where to turn, because the actress who plays her was so believable. I was totally shocked by the ending but it did all make sense - it didn't abruptly end either and everything clicked into place. It's a very creepy film and at times I did feel genuinely scared and creeped out. The CGI used was flawless and the picture was really good with some nice scenery and lots of sunshine to balance out the more horrible scenes in the film.
The acting was really good, and at no point did I predict the ending. It kept me hooked from the moment it started to the moment it finished and I even went on Wikipedia afterwards to read the plot to make sure there wasn't anything that I'd missed! It is one of the best films that I've seen and I can't recommend it enough. I'd happily watch it again!
There are certain elements one comes to expect when watching a film belonging to a particular genre. Films that aim to relate to such a genre can often fall victim to biased audiences who come to expect common traits, which may be in the form of elements within the film (visuals, camerawork, lighting, sound, music) or in the area of marketing (trailers, posters, pre-released stills, even film titles!). The genre that experiences this the most is horror. It could be said that if a film intentionally released or marketed as a horror production doesn't comply with a said formula, to a certain extent, an audience can turn against it. Oftentimes, this has nothing to do with the director, or those working closely on the film, but rather the executives of the film companies. In the case of The Guard Brothers, directors of The Uninvited, this applies somewhat. The film IS a horror, and was marketed as a dark, haunting movie, which is what you get. However, the horror is arguably not strong enough, hence rather low ratings (on this occasion, I feel providing the IMDb rating is necessary: 6.2/10). Yet I feel it is not the horror facet that is the films predetermined focus point, but rather the story and how it is portrayed. To rate the film lowly due to it 'not being scary enough' would be unfair. The film goes beyond that. Based on the Korean "A Tale of Two Sisters" (which I haven't seen), I argue that The Uninvited is perhaps a bit better than it comes across...
Anna (Emily Browning) has spent ten months in an asylum following a suicide attempt after struggling to accept the death of her terminal mother in a fire. Upon being discharged, she returns home to be reunited with her sister Alex (Arielle Kebel), father Steven (David Strathairn) and, much to her dismay, her father's girlfriend Rachel (Elizabeth Banks), who was previously her mother's carer. Both Anna and Alex suspect that Rachel was involved in the fire that killed their mother, and go about trying to prove it. Due to Anna's mental state, however, her suspicions of Rachel are played down by her father; it's an understandable stance to take for a young girl who has lost her mother, to see the new girlfriend as a 'replacement'. Anna stands by her beliefs however, and with the support of Alex, continues to investigate. In the meantime, however, nightmares of her departed mother torment her.
Anna is the protagonist of this film, despite the closeness between her and Alex. It is Anna who has responded most severely to her mother's death, and it is primarily her anguish we share. So, the film is basically shot through her perspective, which allows the viewer to relate to her, and this ultimately strengthens the horrific moments, and also the agonising emotions Anna feels. Her young age also calls for some callow takes on reality, so certain scenes that are apparently drearily directed are in fact purposeful - thus, actually quite sharply done! Browning is very good in the role, executing the dramatic moments to a satisfactory level and leading the film well. She's also gorgeous, which does help with the liking to her character (as immoral as that is!), and importantly, the sympathy we feel towards her. As a young teenager, she is frail and frightened, and the frustration she feels as her thoughts towards Rachel fall on deaf ears is conveyed successfully. She leads the role well, but I wouldn't say that it is a stellar performance. Alex and Rachel are secondary characters in The Uninvited as the ally and the villain respectively, and Banks is good in particular.
On the horror front, I would say that the film is haunting but tame. There are some horrific scenes, but the true scary element is not achieved. The scenes are suspenseful as Anna closes in on the truth, and her nightmares are somewhat chilling. The film was disappointing to some purely because it wasn't scary enough, which is understandable for those expecting a bold, terrifying movie, with decaying horror clichés marring that possibility, and certain scenes just not quite accomplishing the apparent desired effect. But there is tension throughout, and the sympathy we feel towards Anna strengthens what horror is present. Cinematography again is somewhat tainted by typical horror scenes, with pathetic fallacy inevitably playing a part. The score by Christopher Young is solid, effective and appropriate, but doesn't break any boundaries, and isn't quite as enjoyable as Zimmer's "The Ring" OST or Beltrami and Sanders' more recent "Don't Be Afraid of the Dark" OST. The overall effect of the film is gloomy and ominous, and this compliments the story well. The true horror is in the circumstances Anna has had to face, and there is tragedy in this young girl's isolation, which Browning's persona and performance enhances. The film isn't exactly pioneering, but it is interesting, haunting and entertaining. Don't expect to be scared out of your wits, but there is a lasting effect to be had from this movie, and overall it is pretty good.
I looked at this film several times in my local DVD shop, sort of thinking that it would be a let down like many horror films and that it would be predictable and nothing special. Something about it intrigued me however and I eventually rented it. I was very pleasantly surprised by it, whilst many of the typical horror film scares were used it had a decent storyline, it kept me interesting and it had a great twist at the end.
The story revolves around Anna who has been in a mental institution following the death of her mother, she has now been released and goes back home, only to find that things do not seem right and she is plagued by nightmares of her mother's passing.
Anna's father has become engaged to a woman named Rachel, who used to be her mother's 'vcaretaker' before her death and who Anna does not trust. Anna is convinced Rachel had something to do with the death and that she is up to something and along with her sister Alex she is determined to find out what is going on.
As Anna investigates Rachel's somewhat questionable past it seems as though the story is going to have a fairly typical ending, however it then brings in a twist which I for one was not at all expecting!
All in all this is a well told story, the storyline is good, the acting is good and the scares are plenty. It's not absolutely terrifying if you are a hardened horror film fan but it will make you jump and it is definitely worth a watch.
RELEASED: 2009 Cert.15
RUNNING TIME: Approx. 87 mins
DIRECTORS: Charles & Thomas Guard
PRODUCER: Michael Grillo, Walter F Parkes, Ivan Reitman, &Laurie MacDonald
SCREENPLAY: Craig Rosenberg, Doug Miro & Carlo Bernard
MUSIC: Christopher Young
Emily Browning as Anna
Arielle Kebbel as Alex
Elizabeth Banks as Rachel
David Strathairn as Steven
FILM ONLY REVIEW
After her terminally ill invalid mother dies in a fire, grieving Anna attempts suicide which results in her being hospitalised in a psychiatric unit for some months. Despite still suffering from severe nightmares and continuing to be disturbed by flashback memories of the fire which killed her mother, Anna's therapist at the hospital declares she is ready to return home.
Once back home and reunited with her sister (Alex) who she is very close to, it emerges that the girls' father has entered into a relationship with Rachel, the woman who had been employed as their mother's nurse. Both Anna and Alex dislike Rachel intensely.
Via her dreams, Anna begins to see what she believes is the ghost of her dead mother warning her about Rachel's true intentions, and with the help of both her boyfriend and her sister Alex, she attempts to discover the truth about Rachel.
That sets the scene, and as always, you must see the film for yourself to discover more.
What first drew me to The Uninvited was simply that I liked the title, plus I had read some positive reviews on various film-orientated websites. Just looking at the title alone, I was unable to pinpoint what the film could be about, although I of course got the impression that it would be either a horror or psychological thriller movie.
Firstly, I found the initial few minutes of the film very confusing (a barbecue on the beach), but it didn't take long to settle down to a point where for the most part, I could manage to work out what was going on. All the hallmarks of the promise of a good chiller are present early on in the proceedings once the muddly bit at the outset is over, and my interest was held watching the vulnerable Anna be given the OK to leave the psychiatric unit by her therapist, despite her being disturbed by flashbacks and bad dreams. There are a couple of little jump out of your skin moments during that early part of the film (and later), which served to keep me interested.
However, once the main body of the film got underway, I found that it overall lacked originality, being far too like other movies which have a similar storyline....but there is a very neat twist to this film which I certainly didn't anticipate, although I do feel that this twist wasn't handled as well as it could have been by the direction/production team as it was all too rushed, which gave it a very contrived feel, despite actually being original (as far as I'm aware). I have noted that this version of The Uninvited is a remake of a Korean movie, and I do, possibly wrongly, suspect that original quite likely would be a far more professional, slick production....copies and remakes of films rarely work, and hardly ever does a re-vamp live up to the first time around version.
The Uninvited is quite a short film and it seems to me that too much was packed into a time constraint which gave the impression of everything being rushed. I'd much rather have seen a longer, slower build-up to titillate my sense of the mysterious.
As far as the acting is concerned, I wasn't at all impressed with Elizabeth Banks' portrayal of Rachel, the wicked stepmother figure. I felt she came across as rather false and that the character of Rachel lacked depth. As the film moves on, Rachel displays various sinister personality traits that I don't feel Elizabeth Banks was suitable to carry off effectively....regardless of her acting abilities or lack of, she simply didn't look the part and as far as I'm concerned, wasn't at all convincing.
The rest of the main cast acted their roles at least adequately, albeit not brilliantly, and my favourite of these was Arielle Kebbel as Alex, Anna's warm-hearted, yet slightly racy older sister.
I did quite like the music to the film, although it was obviously a score, enhancing what was occurring on screen rather than blending with it, but it certainly is suitable - possibly it could be improved upon, but is fine as it stands.
Overall, I can't say I was all that impressed with The Uninvited, although there were a few rather creepy moments within, and the jump out of my skin factor was pretty good on occasions. Everything was so rushed that it came across as contrived and unrealistic, plus as said above, I don't feel that the unique twist was handled as well as it could and should have been. I like a film of this nature - not true-blue horror in itself, but a psychological thriller tinged with some creepy bits - to be powerful, absorbing, and to draw me into the storyline to a point where I feel as though it's really happening. I like to be left feeling nervous about going to bed alone, yet this one simply didn't do it for me. There in my opinion are far better psycho-chiller movies out there which far more effectively hit my spot....this one pretty much missed it altogether!
It is a shame really, because handled differently, The Uninvited does have a lot of potential to be a really good, gripping psychological thriller, but sadly for me it fell flat, a bit like my home-made Yorkshire puddings when I remove them from the oven. I don't think it deserves bottom place on the star rating ladder as there are a few moderately good moments within, but the best I can say is that The Uninvited didn't inspire me and on this occasion and with the right direction/production team, a remake of this remake could be in order and may receive my seal of approval.
At the time of writing, The Uninvited can be purchased on Amazon as follows:-
New: from £3.85 to £24.19
Used: from £2.90 to £6.24
Collectible: One copy only available at £5.99
A delivery charge of £1.26 should added to the above figures.
Thanks for reading!
~~ Also published on Ciao under my CelticSoulSister user name ~~
After the tragic death of her Mother, Anna has spent the last 10 months in an asylum trying to unleash her demons and carry on with her life. When she's finally cleared to go home, things aren't as rosy as Anna had first hoped. Anna's widowed Father has quickly moved on, but, not just with anyone, he's now dating the woman who used to care for his sick wife.
Once reunited with her sister, Alex, the two girls become closer than ever. Quickly, the hatred of their Dad's new girlfriend starts to unravel when it appears that there's more than meets the eye with Rachel and when Anna's boyfriend claims to have seen something suspicious on the night of their Mother's death, the girls turn sleuth to discover the truth. Is Rachel really all she seems?
Why oh why do Hollywood seem so intent on ruining the reputations of well received Asian horror classics? This is a question that's asked everytime Hollywood pump out yet another remake, often to an onslaught of negative press. To be fair, there have been some gems - The Ring being one of them, however, on the whole, remakes aren't a good idea, especially when it comes to Asian horrors. There's something about the way that they craft their horror films that the English speaking demographic find it hard to fathom and therefore latch onto their, superior ideas. I mean, how many good *original* horror films have come out of Hollywood in the last decade?
The Uninvited, however, stands out from the crowd when it comes to Asian horror remakes. To make the film a little less inconspicuous the name has been changed. 'A Tale Of Two Sisters' was the predecessors name, however, Hollywood decided it needed a re-imaging and came to the conclusion that a hugely misleading title like 'The Uninvited' was the way to go. The film, actually isn't anything at all like you'd first perceive it to be. This was a film that was released among a sea of teen horror films (The Unborn, Orphan, Sorority Row), most of which failing to resonate with audiences. Therefore it's easy to write this film off as another in a long line of recent horror failings.
If I were to be pedantic (and lets face it, I often am), I wouldn't actually class this film as a horror, because, infact, the horror aspect is pretty lost on this film. The gore factor is, well, non existent throughout the course of the relatively short 87 minute running time, and, in that time you'll realise that this film sits more comfortably in the psychological thriller genre. The film does have its jumpy and unnerving moments, but this is due more to the atmosphere that builds up throughout, leading to a satisfying climax. Atmosphere plays a big part in this film and it's made clear early on that this isn't going to be a happy, cheery film. The setting isn't exactly original (well, neither is the film), the beautiful house by the lake has been done to exhaustion. However, the setting does play a part in the story so it was pleasing to see that it was there for a point, not just for aesthetic purposes. What I didn't like, however, were the blatant attempts at unnerving the audience, as this is a film that has most affect when it's not trying. The supernatural element fell flat on me and there's more than a hint of The Grudge in there. Unfortunately, this is no Grudge and Anna is no Sarah Michelle Gellar. The supernatural elements that mainly took place in Anna's subconscious, were, in my opinion pointless and served no purpose to the film as a whole.
Things don't begin to happen for around 45 minutes of the film. However, that's not to say that this film drags in any shape or form. The build up is extremely intriguing as we see the sisters reunited, to the family divide that has taken place since Anna's institutionalism, everything plays out well and the tension builds slowly but surely. We see things through Anna's eyes for the majority of the film and her nervous energy resonates extremely well with audiences. We really get a feel for Anna's personality and her character is fully developed, more than everyone else in the film. Her sister Alex plays a smaller part in the film, her input is limited, therefore we don't get much of an understanding for her character.
There's a big twist in this film that, unless you've seen A Tale Of Two Sisters you won't see coming. The twist completely took me by surprise as the majority of the films running time is spent chasing other avenues. This was done fantastically well, with subtle clues throughout the build up to suggest that things aren't what they seem, however, these are easily missed and it will take you a second viewing to really appreciate all these subtle hints. A lot of credit for this has to be given to Elizabeth Banks, who has made a name for herself appearing, namely in comedy films so this is a very different role for the actress and she plays it with conviction. The 'evil Stepmother' thing has been done before, and no doubt better, however, Banks portrays the interchanging personalities of the character very believably. Seamlessly switching from the caring Stepmother to what could be perceived as a woman with a jaded past.
The ending is superb and is what sets this film out from the crowd. With a tension-filled climax and a number of twists and turns, The Uninvited is a film to look out for.
Invite yourself, invite other people - just be there.
I watched the film called The Uninvited today on Sky Anytime so this is just a review of the film, not the dvd.
The film is about a young girl called Anna whose mother dies in a horrific fire and she ends up being put into a mental home because of the trauma. When her Dr says she is ready to go back into the world again she goes home to live with her father and his girlfriend and her sister Alex. The two girls are suspicious of the girlfriend and start to think that may be the fire wasn't the accident everyone thought it was but their father doesn't want to listen to them.
This film is not a bad horror movie, the story is on the edge all the way through and there are some brilliant twists to it that are completely unexpected. Emily Browning was very good as Anna, even though in the film she was supposed to be a fifteen year old and Emily is more like 20. She did act like a young girl though so well done to her, also, she really made you feel the horror of what was occurring in the story. I thought the film was very scary in places and it was also a bit disturbing. It had some pretty naff bits too though that didn't really add anything to the story and for a while you think you know exactly where the film is going but keep with it as you will be surprised later on.
The actors in the film are as follows -
Emily Browning - Anna
Arielle Kebbel - Alex
David Strathairn-Steven her father
Elizabeth Banks - Rachel the girlfriend
Maya Massar - Her mother
Kevin McNulty - Sheriff Emery
Jesse Moss - Matthew Hendricks
Dean Paul Gibson - Dr. Silberling
The film is directed by Charles and Thomas Guard and it runs for 87 minutes. It came out in 2009 and it is rated a 15 in the UK.
The Uninvited is a pretty decent horror movie, the film stars Emily Browning in the role of fifteen year old Anna who after sufferring a breakdown has spent a period of time in hospital recovering however now she is back in the real world and has arrived home.
She lives with her father and her sister Alex however she is not pleased to see that their former house keeper Rachel is now their fathers lover and Alex playued by Arielle Kebbel is not best pleased at being left alone with Rachel especially as the girls are suspscious that she may have had some connection with their mothers death.
The acting in this film is pretty good especially from Browning in the role of the disturbed Anna, she is fast proving herself to be an accomplished actress and she superbly handles the array of emotions needed in this role especially as she is playing a teenager, she certainly has a young face.
Rachel is played by Elizabeth Banks who moves away from her normal roles and does really well in this film as the rather sinister interloper with a charming exterior.
The plot is well constructed and the tension builds nicely throughout the film with some good plot twists. It certainly got the hairs standing up on the back of my hands and I found it to be frightening enough without making you want to look away at any point in the film.
This is a good solid horror movie and one that is worth watching. You can buy it on Amazon for a fiver.
Anna has had a stint in hospital to recover from a breakdown following the death of her mother. Relieved to finally be going home, she is thrilled to see her father and her sister, Alex. She isn't quite so pleased to see Rachel, however, their former housekeeper who her father has now moved in as his lover. Alex is angry that Anna left her alone to cope with Rachel and the pair begin to discuss the possibility that Rachel isn't who she claims to be. The more they investigate, the more it seems that this isn't the case. When a friend of Anna's claims to have seen something suspicious the night of her mother's death, the sisters are even more suspicious. Can they prove who Rachel is and what happened the night their mother died?
Based on the Korean horror, The Tale of Two Sisters, I watched this film with some trepidation. Re-makes are rarely impressive, especially, it seems, when they are Hollywood versions of Asian films. The Tale of Two Sisters is a stunning film - it is visually beautiful and the story is so full of twists and turns that the viewer really is left wondering what on earth is going on. It is easily one of my top ten favourite films. However, this re-make is a great film in its own right. It may not be quite as good as the original, but anyone who hasn't seen the original won't know any different, and, in any case, the storyline is tweaked enough to make it more original than may otherwise have been expected.
Emily Browning (Lemony Snicket's An Unfortunate Series of Events) plays Anna. She is a very childish looking actress and that is exactly what is needed here, because she is only supposed to be fifteen (although the actress was already twenty when filming). She appears to have fully recovered from her breakdown, although still clearly has a few hang-ups about her mother's death. Once she meets up with Alex again, however, she begins to exhibit some of the behaviour that probably resulted in her being institutionalised in the first place. Nevertheless, it appears that she really does have a point this time. Browning managed to portray all this brilliantly. She is aloof when she needs to be, yet can immediately change to hysteria, all very naturally. Hopefully, she will continue to go from strength to strength - she seems very much at home with character roles.
Arielle Kebbel as Alex is less impressive, although only marginally so. She is an enigmatic character, apparently very hurt by her sister's defection, especially as Anna didn't reply to any of her letters. Her relationship with their father and Rachel is strained, presumably because she doesn't approve of Rachel, and they rarely talk. Kebbel doesn't give a bad performance; it is just that the viewer doesn't really get the chance to get under her skin. This is for a reason, but it doesn't become obvious until later in the film. I liked Elizabeth Banks as Rachel. I've always thought of Banks as a comic actress - I loved her in Zack and Miri Make a Porno and Scrubs - so this role was very different for her. She dealt with it well; not brilliantly, but she showed the right amount of sugary sweetness with an edge of steel underneath. David Stathairn as the girl's father was average - partly because he is so distant, but partly because he speaks probably the most important line in the whole film and doesn't really do it justice.
Although the direction of the film was obvious to me from the start of the film, because I have seen the film on which it was based, it was, nevertheless, an excellent story. There are a number of similarities, but there are enough differences for it to be fresh. This version is much less confusing and ambiguous, partially because there are fewer cultural references to worry about - the Western names alone help to make things a little easier to follow. Possibly someone completely new to the film will struggle a little to begin with, it may even take a couple of watches to fully understand it, but rest assured that everything does eventually make sense - provided that you concentrate for the course of the film, of course.
Visually, this isn't a patch on A Tale of Two Sisters, which feels incredibly gothic and desolate, with the only bright spots being the flashes of red that appear throughout the film. The Uninvited is a visually attractive film though - the use of red against white is eye-catching, for example, and the film is generally well-made. It doesn't quite have the visual excitement of A Tale of Two Sisters. There are moments when Anna sees things that (presumably) aren't there and these visions are technically great, but just don't quite have the same creepiness that the original did. Again though, for anyone who hasn't seen the original, it isn't going to make a great deal of difference. It isn't entirely clear for much of the film whether it is about to take off in a supernatural direction, or if it is all in Anna's head. I would have preferred the supernatural element to be stressed a little more than it was.
There are a couple of extras with the DVD. The making of featurette is interesting, consisting mainly of the producers, the writers, the directors Charles and Thomas Guard, and two lead actresses. Then there's the usual deleted scenes - worth a watch if you liked the film. Finally, there's an alternate ending. This lasts for about thirty seconds and is far from being the alternate ending I had in mind - it really makes no difference to the film overall.
This is a really intriguing film that I wasn't expecting to be as good as it was. It isn't faultless, but it is much better than most of the recent spate of Hollywood horror that has come through. It is a thought-provoking film that can't just be watched with partial concentration; some may even need to watch it again to work it all out. Whether it is best to watch this film or The Tale of Two Sisters first depends on your personal tastes - The Tale of Two Sisters is subtitled and a little more convoluted, although it is the superior film, and won't appeal to everyone. It is, however, worth watching at least one of them. Four stars out of five.
The DVD is available from play.com for £5.99.
Classification: 15 (for some disturbing images)
Running time: 87 minutes
I really enjoy a good psychological thriller and The Uninvited really did it for me. There have been a number of American remakes in recent years of popular Asian horror movies including The Grudge starring Sarah Michelle Gellar and Mirrors starring Kiefer Sutherland. Often the remakes are a bit of a letdown but The Uninvited is fortunately a very credible version of a South Korean movie called A Tale Of Two Sisters.
Emily Browning who plays Anna is an Australian actress and model probably best known as Violet Baudelaire in Lemony Snicket's A Series Of Unfortunate Events (2004).
Elizabeth Banks who plays live in nurse Rachel has appeared in the Spiderman movies with Toby Maguire. She has also appeared in Scrubs.
Arielle Kebbel (Anna's sister Alex) has appeared in John Tucker Must Die and The Grudge 2.
After a boathouse fire kills her terminally ill mother or "mom" as they say in the United States Anna (Emily Browning) is in an psychiatric institution following a suicide attack. Ten months later she is allowed to go home seemingly with no memory of the fire.
Anna is relieved to meet up with her sister Alex (Arielle Kebbel) but is disappointed to see that her father is now officially an item with his dead wife's former live in nurse Rachel (Elizabeth Banks).
Anna has dreams involving her mother in which she appears to be sending her daughter a message suggesting that Rachel killed her and started the fire on purpose so she could be with Anna's father played by David Strathaim.
Anna bumps into her former boyfriend Matt (Jesse Moss) who claims that he knows everything about the fire. Rachel seems keen to keep them apart.
Anna and Alex are unable to find a record of Rachel with the State Nursing Association. When she confronts Rachel about her apparent deception the former nurse tries to drug her.
Anna has recurring dreams involving 3 dead children. She eventually comes across their graves and after some research on the internet she discovers that the 3 children were murdered by a nanny called Mildrid Kemp who is still on the run. Anna notices in a photograph that Rachel is wearing a necklace identical to the one Mildred Kemp is wearing. She puts 2 and 2 together and goes to tell her father the apparent truth about his new girlfriend.
The Uninvited is a very enjoyable film with brilliant suspense, fine acting and a good twist at the end. Emily Browning and Elizabeth Banks are particularly impressive, feeding off each other to great effect. You are kept guessing throughout the film, is everything what it seems? It is not particularly gory which is a plus in my book. A lot of directors try to shock just for the sake of it. However the Guard Brothers' prefer to keep the viewer guessing as to what is really going on without including much blood.
Every so often a film comes along which manages to catch me off-guard and far exceed my expectations. I had seen the trailers for The Uninvited and pretty much dismissed it as just another in the long line of predictable sub-standard thriller flicks that promises so much but delivers very little normally finding that all the best bits are included in the trailer and the film failing to capitalise on what could-have-been. Having had the title on my Lovefilm list for a few weeks it was sent to me the other day and as mentioned in the opening line of this review it was a film that I found myself enjoying far more than I expected to.
Following a tragic accident Anna (Emily Browning) has spent the last 10 months in a mental hospital trying to come to terms with the death of her mother in a terrible fire. Although tormented by nightmares and flashbacks of the fateful night Anna's doctor suggests that she is now fit enough to return home to her family.
After 10months away things are different at home, the main change being that Anna's father has begun a relationship with Rachel (Elizabeth Browning) who just happened to be the nurse employed to care for Anna's sick mother. Reunited with her sister; Alex the two girls are less than impressed with their fathers new relationship and especially as there seems to be more than meets the eye with Rachel.
Is Rachel the typical 'Wicked Stepmother'? she certainly seems to live up to the role but as the film progresses things take an unexpected turn and things are not as they may first appear...
It is very hard to write about my thoughts of this film without revealling any spoilers regarding the massive twist as this is what made the film stand apart from the others for me. Even though I did work out what it was it will still come as a great surprise if you haven't read too many other reviews that mention it. After around 30 minutes there was one scene that reminded me so much of another film that dealt with a similar subject that I worked out what was happening, saying that though it is very subtle and unless you are paying attention you wont really notice it.
Even though I had worked out what was really happening this did not detract from my enjoyment of the film and I was carried along with the plot and events that were taking place. Emily Browning as Anna is superb in her role, she has an innocent look and air to her that is believable and I was taken in by her performance. Similarly, Elizabeth Browning as Rachel is also marvellous, you never really know what her character's intentions are in the film and there are many scenes where she lives up to what you would expect from the 'wicked stepmother' and assumptions are made by both of the two sisters and us, the viewers.
The plot never lets up and manages to build up the tension right up to the final reveal and the end sequence (which if you haven't worked out)is a joy to watch, all ends are tied up nicely and I was left completely satisfied with what I had seen.
It was only when I was looking for the names of the actresses in this film from IMDB that I discovered that this film was a remake of an Asian one which carried a different name. The original's name is a clue really about the twist so I won't reveal it here and for a change I am actually quite pleased that this film doesn't carry the same name even though the title of this 'The Uninvited' isn't entirely accurate. I cannot work out who was 'uninvited' in this film? Anna? Rachel? Alex? (Anna's sister) maybe I missed something but I feel that the title gives the wrong impression as to the films actual content.
Speaking of which, the film could be classed as a horror, but for me was more of a supernatural thriller. There are some scary jump moments but no blood or gore and overall I felt it to be more thrilling than terrifying and when watched does feel vaguely reminiscent of other films in the genre. I did enjoy it though and it certainly would be a film that I recommend to anyone looking for something a bit different with a good twist that may catch you by surprise.
For £4.99 at the moment on Amazon this is a great price for this film and it will be a title that I end up buying for my own collection. Having seen it once and knowing what happens it would be good to rewatch knowing the full story as events and dialogue will have a different meaning on a repeat view. Definitely recommended by me and one to watch!
As far as a rating goes, The Uninvited gets 5/5 from me - I couldn't find any faults with it that would warrant any star deductions so a perfect rating from this reviewer.
Thanks for reading my review
This is another in the series of horror films I've been reviewing lately, no doubt there will be a few more to come soon! This is probably my favourite of the recent horror films that I've seen, and it was quite different.
The plot is quite confusing as there is quite a bit going on at the same time, and the end just makes you even more confused! Although I thought the plot was quite good and interesting, I didn't think it really finished properly as when it ended it seemed like it wasn't finished and still had something else to say. It revolves around a teenage girl (Anna) with issues recovering from a suicide attempt after her ill mother was killed in a house fire. Rachel is her dads new partner, and she doesn't get on at all with Anna or her sister Alex. They come to believe that Rachel was responsible for the fire, and is now trying to kill them. Anna is still suffering from nightmares after her mothers death, and we also wonder if there is something else at work here.
The three main leads/actresses are Emily Browning as Anna Ivers, Arielle Kebbel as Alex Ivers and Elizabeth Banks as Rachel Summers. All 3 women work together really well and have believable relationships. Because of the twists in the films plot, some of the things the characters do are shown to have different meanings to whats actually happening. At times this can be confusing, and you only realise when its been revealed at the end, then I wondered how I didn't see it at the time!
I really enjoyed this, and it had more to it than the average horror. There were quite a few jumpy bits, but it was hard to distinguish what was actually happen as it was explored through Anna's confused mind! The only thing is that if you want to understand this film then you will really have to concentrate on it as we were talking through it then had to google it afterwards to find out what actually happened!
This 2009 horror film is an American remake of a 2003 Korean film. Quite often, these Hollywood remakes lack the eerieness and punch of the original but not in this case. This is certainly one of the best horrors I've seen this year.
The story of the film involves a young teenager, Anna, who returns home after spending some time in an institution where she was recovering from the death of her ill mother. She had perished in a mysterious fire at the family home. Anna returns to find that her father has forged a romantic relationship with the woman who was her mother's nurse. Anna's sister, unable to cope with the situation, is often drunk and disorderly. The sisters then begin to experience disturbing visions of their mother asking for help. Suspicious of their stepmother's motives they then resolve to get rid of their father's new love, whom they suspect has committed arson and murder.
Emily Browning plays Anna and is a teenie sized actress with a cute Strawberry Shortcake doll face which makes her seem cute and somewhat fragile. She makes the character of Anna completely likeable and is the perfect choice for this lead role.
Alex is a raunchier, more rebellious teenager than her delicate sister. She saunters around in a bikini looking fabulous and carefree and gives attitude by the bucketload to her peers. Arielle Kebbel plays the part of the bitter young woman very well and is reminiscent of Maggie Gyllenhall in appearance and acting skill.
The relationship between the sisters is something that captivates and yet teases audiences. Is there something more sinister to Alex's campaign to destroy her step-mother? Are there secrets and lies lurking beneath the surface of the sisterly devotion? What has Alex been doing in Anna's absence? These questions drive the plot.
Elizabeth Banks is perfect as the thirty-something Stepford wife-type social climber Rachel Summers who never looks or speaks out of place but who hides a steely determination and raging temper inside. She is utterly convincing as the nasty, coniving step-mom who wants Daddy all to herself and will do anything to have it that way. Her mystery and danger is intriguing and unsettling. Apart from her shady past and potential as a killer it is her gradual wearing down of Anna's confidence and character that is particularly disturbing. Rachel's white-as-driven-snow demeanour and the syrupy things she says are always slightly incongruent with her behaviour though. This means there always remains a question as to what her true motives really are and whether she is consciously evil or possesed by something dark and deadly.
What takes place after Anna's return home is something like a haunting whilst the girl attempts to deal with her bad memories as well as the new family order. There are plenty of gruesome scenes involving Anna and Alex's mother who seems to be trying to get her daughters to avenge her death. There are some shocks and some creepy but slightly cliched moments involving head-spinning, zombie kids and decomposing corpses. Overall, I felt there was a good degree and variety of grossness and mind-terrors. As well as the actual human threat from Rachel we are faced with the possibility of ghosts and demonic possession. It is difficult to know what is the real cause of evil. What exactly is the 'uninvited' of the film's title? We are kept guessing till the very end.
The cinematography is attractive and leaves an impression. The landscapes of sun-kissed ocean bays, forests shadowed by feathered pines and foggy graveyards where the tombstones are crumbling to dust seem to fit perfectly with the story.
The film relies on a surprising and difficult to guess twist which makes you reassess some of the events that have gone before. It is a wonderfully exciting, gruesome and disturbing outcome and a brilliant end to an absorbing story. This is one story that has remained with me for days after viewing. I thoroughly reccommend watching it.
The DVD of The Uninvited is available to buy now and features deleted scenes, an alternate ending and a documentary.
2009 brings us a remake titled 'The Uninvited'. Before I review this movie it is strongly advised by myself and other movie enthusiasts that you watch the original (A Tale of Two Sisters) first. It is superior with a more complete plot and gives answers to questions that the remake leaves unanswered.
Within the first few opening scenes you find one of the main characters, a troubled young girl named 'Anna' (Emily Browning) awakening in a mental hospital. Unsure why at first, she is discharged from a hospital but before she leaves she is told 'to finish what she started' by her psychiatrist/therapist. And this is where the movie begins...
Returning to her home in New England (the area, and sets are truly beautiful) she discovers many things have changed including her home being redecorated, family chalkboard being taken down, and her father having a new girlfriend 'Rachel' (Elizabeth Banks). The girlfriend also used to be the nurse for a family member. The only thing that hasn't changed in her eyes is her sister 'Alex' (Arielle Kebbel).
As you would expect the sisters are best friends, and have a good relationship though there are times when she is seeking validation for what she sees. There is a scene of emotion that is triggered by an angered Anna. She wants to know why Alex made no effort to contact her whilst she was away in the hospital. Alex pleads her innocence by trying to convince her sister saying that she send a number of letters. Why didn't she receive them?
Well the film will certainly leave you guessing throughout, there are many scenes, which aren't, as they seem. Clues are left and it is up to you to see them. I thought the film was very clever and going in with a clear mind not knowing what you are going to watch will leave you amazed when the ending comes full circle. I didn't see the original nor did I see the trailer for this version. I am glad I didn't as most trailers these days spoil the entire plot giving far too much away.
This film is about relationships, trust, and the mind. Can it play tricks on you? Is what you see really real? You'll find out watching this. It is a genuinely scary movie at times. I wanted to turn it off but my girlfriend wouldn't let me. Also, watch it in the dark, on your own for the full experience.
Going back to the film, Anna has a friend, a guy called Matt that tries to attempt to tell her something throughout the film. Why does Rachel seem to stop communication between the two whenever they get time alone? Why was she put in that mental hospital? You will want to find out..
I don't want to ruin the plot, but if you are after a horror/thriller/drama for yourself or as a gift for someone else you can't go wrong with 'The Uninvited'. Be it this version or the original. Hollywood didn't ruin this movie like they have done with many other remakes.
Will Anna finish what she started?
4 out of 5
Although the original Korean film A Tale of Two Sisters was widely acclaimed as being a meditative, disturbing horror film, I simply couldn't get on with the painstaking pace. Thus, I don't feel as though The Uninvited, through its sheer status as a remake, is in any way wrecking some sort of Holy Grail like surely many others feel that it is. It's almost poetic, in fact, that The Uninvited is a mediocre remake of a mediocre film.
Anna (Emily Browning) and her sister Alex (Arielle Kebbel) are recovering from the unexpected death of their mother, whilst some very strange goings on begin happening. Their father is also getting rather chummy with a lady friend (played by Elizabeth Banks), and the sisters grow to believe through a rather convoluted set of circumstances that she is responsible somehow for the death of their mother, and that she is a murderous psychopath who is going to offend again.
With a concept like this, which goes pretty far away from the original, it could have worked as an almost B-movie esque thriller, but as with most horror films, it's simply too self serious to really work, and believes in its own intrigue and mystique far too much. Nevertheless, it is a sure improvement over most American horror despite its irritating jump scares (which can be anticipated from a mile away), although an absurd third act plot twist well and truly ruins things, and places it alongside French horror film High Tension as being one of the most spectacular derails in horror film history.
This remake of Korean horror film A Tale of Two Sisters is certainly more engaging than many of its American contemporaries, yet whilst presenting a promising murder-mystery plot, The Uninvited is tonally uneven, flitting from intriguing investigative drama to shopworn jump-scare horror. Moreover, the film spectacularly crashes and burns in its third act, succumbing to predictable and overdone plot twists.
For those of you who don't know, this film is a remake of a Korean horror film. Now, this normally sets alarm bells ringing for me but, after an impressive trailer, I decided, against my better judgement, to give it a go.
Well, needless to say I shouldn't have bothered. This film is exactly what you would expect from an American remake. The budget obviously didn't quite stretch far enough, the scriptwriting is awful, the acting equally so. Everything in this film is totally predictable and, worse still, horribly cliched.
Other reviewers have talked about the big twist in the tale. Yes, it's there, but instead of adding to the story or creating a suitably surprising ending, it just renders the preceding hour and a half completely pointless and left me wondering what the opportunity cost of the time spent watching it was.
For those of you who are used to being spoon-fed cheap American horrors aimed at giving you a couple of jumps and a bit of blood at the expense of any real depth, there's bound to be something here to entertain you, but if you're looking for something a bit more intelligent or involving, look elsewhere.