Movie Review by Neil Sadler
Starring: Emily Browning, Elizabeth Banks, Arielle Kebbel, David Strathairn
Directors: Charles Guard, Thomas Guard (The Guard Brothers)
The main problem with THE UNINVITED is not that is a plainly unscary scary movie. It is not that it wastes its cast with a weak script and acting by numbers performances. No, the main problem with this film is that almost every moment of it feels so familiar, you feel it should come with a label saying “Made from 90% recycled material.”
I suppose this is not completely unexpected as it is another western remake of an Asian “scary children with long hair” film – in this case the Korean film, THE TALES OF TWO SISTERS. At least THE RING films kept some of the horror of the originals. This film ditches most of the original and crafts instead this very ordinary tale.
Essentially a wicked stepmother story, it tells the story of Anna who returns home after having a breakdown following the death of her mother in an accident. On returning home, she finds her father is about to marry his mother’s nurse and begins to suspect that she isn’t who she claims to be. Together with her sister, they aim to prove the nurse for the murderer they believe.
Shot with the lazy style of a TV movie, THE UNINVITED never really raises itself above its pretensions. The characters are extremely uninvolving, feeling for the most part like rejects from the latest Dark Castle PG horror but at least those films spice themselves up with a bit of pointless bloodshed. This is a pretty bloodless affair and seems to be squarely pitched towards an audience that maybe were unable to get tickets to see TWILIGHT.
The camera work and direction seem to be recycled from countless other better films and although there are a couple of well-timed jumps – it all seems more at home in a theme park ride than here where you have to sit through the uninvolving plot to get to them. At least theme park rides are short.
But the thing that almost makes this film bearable (and raises it above a one-star review – just) is the twist at the end. Sometimes a twist can make a film worth the money you pay. M Night Shayamalan has made a career out of films that are very little BUT a twist.
The twist in the last 15 minutes of this film almost make this a reasonable way to spend your money and your time. I can imagine that this was the reason the film was made in the first place. Unfortunately it isn’t a good enough twist to make up for the unimaginative writing, directing and acting that you are forced to sit through for the rest of the film.