- Rated PG-13
- Buy the BD
All photos © Paramount
Reviewed by Jason Zingale
very year, at least one studio releases some watered down remake of an Asian horror film with the blind hope that it will go on to become the next “The Ring.” It’s been seven years since that movie first spooked horror fans everywhere and we’ve still yet to see anything even remotely close to matching its quality. Part of the problem is that many of these films are so much alike, but they’re also pretty boring as well. “The Uninvited” isn’t any different, and though directors Charles and Thomas Guard may think they’ve created a dark and moody psychological thriller that pays tribute to the Korean original, the film is as bland as cardboard and collapses just as easily too.
Emily Browning stars as Anna Rydell, a teenage suicide case who was committed to a psychiatric hospital after her mother was killed in a fire. One year later, Anna returns home to discover her father (David Strathairn) is now dating Rachel (Elizabeth Banks), the stay-at-home nurse in charge of caring for her sick mom. When she begins experiencing a series of supernatural visions, however, Anna becomes convinced that Rachel was the one responsible for starting the fire. Her older sister, Alex (Arielle Kebbel), is quick to join the witch hunt, but when they uncover some startling secrets about Rachel’s past, their new surrogate mother takes matters into her own hands.
If you’ve seen any of the trailers for “The Uninvited,” then you know that the studio really wants you to believe that Rachel is the bad guy, even though casting her as such from the beginning would make for one boring movie. Of course, that doesn’t stop the writers from doing so anyways, and in order to protect the film’s Big Twist, they do whatever it takes to misdirect the viewer at every turn. The worst instance is the inclusion of an entire subplot surrounding the decade-old murder of a local family, and it just might be the cheapest red herring yet. It’s bad enough that most people will be able to see the ending from a mile away, but to try and mask it by cheating the audience is pretty weak.
Then again, this is the same movie that thinks the image of a glass of milk breaking into a pool of blood is creepy, even if it doesn’t exactly have anything to do with the story. What were Elizabeth Banks and David Strathairn thinking when they signed up for this? Were they just really big fans of the original film or in desperate need of a little post-strike cash flow? Who knows, but while Banks manages to rise above the material with a rather good performance, Strathairn doesn’t even bother when his role requires little more than him going through the motions with the enthusiasm of a narcoleptic zombie. Surely there’s a better movie to be made from the material, but “The Uninvited” doesn’t even come close. Next time, maybe the filmmakers should worry less about safekeeping the twist ending and focus more on the 90-odd minutes that precede it.
Single-Disc Blu-Ray Review:
"The Uninvited" might look great in HD (Daniel Landin's cinematography is one of the film's few positives), but the Blu-ray release is a disappointment in the special features department. The included making-of featurette is essentially just an EPK, while the deleted scenes and alternate ending are as forgettable as the movie itself. A director commentary would have been a nice touch, or at the very least, a BD-Live exclusive.