Citing personal history, I don’t do really well with horror films. As mentioned in other reviews, my parents let me see scary movies such as Exorcist & Poltergeist (as well as R-rated action films) when I was no more than ten years old. While, Poltergeist sits proudly in my DVD collection, I still have trouble to this day with Exorcist. Yes, I can be a scaredy cat at times. To be also perfectly honest, I was a bit worried when I received The Uninvited in the mail to review. After all, it proclaims proudly on the cover that it is made by the producers of the Ring(which I absolutely hated) & Disturbia. By the end of the movie, I was very pleasantly surprised.
Anna (played by Emily Browning) is out with her boyfriend Matt (played by Jesse Moss) at a local beach party. They start to kiss when Matt tells Anna he loves her and he has a condom. (Wow, that screams love) Upset, Anna decides to leave. She passes her sister Alex (played by Arielle Kebbel) on the way back to the house. Through the woods she goes until she encounters three filled garbage bags. She opens them and the dead body of a redheaded girl spills out. The redheaded girl’s head snaps and speaks. Anna runs again in the direction of the house.
She finally gets to the house and then hears a bell. The bell is actually coming from the boat house. Her mother, Lilian (played by Maya Massar) is terminally ill and has a bell that she keeps around her wrist when she is in need. When Anna reaches the boathouse, she goes to inside to find her mother gasping for life. Anna runs to get help. When she leaves the house, the boathouse suddenly explodes and flaming pieces come towards her.
Anna blanks out and we realize that she is having a dream. Furthermore, Anna has been placed in a mental hospital since the death of her mother. Her doctor seems to think she is ready to leave for home. She is picked up by her father, Steven (played by David Srathairn), a budding novelist and takes her back to the house. There she meets back up with her sister Alex. Anna also meets up with her mom’s caretaker: Rachel Summers (played by Elizabeth Banks). However, Rachel is no longer the caretaker; she is her father’s girlfriend.
Anna starts to notice changes around the house and after talking to her sister Alex, they decide that her mother’s death was not accidental but rather the victim of foul play. They believe that Rachel did it deliberately but are not sure how to prove this to their father or the local law enforcement. As they uncover more and more clues, they come to the conclusion that Rachel is not as she seems. Furthermore, Anna’s visions continue as she is constantly haunted by three small dead children. Can she control her visions and can the two sisters prove that Rachel was the one behind the boat house explosion?
The casting of this movie was excellent. Emily Browning was excellent in her role and pulled off the innocence of Anna and the mental anguish she went through as her mind played tricks with her. Elizabeth Banks was excellent as Rachel and really hammered home the devilish side of her character. The role that stuck out most to me however was the role of Alex played by Arielle Kebbel. In what some would consider a throwaway role, she was actually the glue that held the movie together until the very end. Kudos is in order for the actress and the directors for framing her properly.
The back of the dvd box promises a shocking ending which for the most part lives up to the hype. Truthfully, I did see part of it coming but the twist was far more than I originally envisioned. Also, I felt that while the ending did tie up most loose ends, there were still a few questions I had regarding Rachel. The movie isn’t perfect, however I felt it was very good. The direction is well done and I enjoyed watching it. It is rare that I find myself appreciating these kinds of thriller/horror movies where a lot of it hinges on shock value. That’s because there is simply more to it than shock.
The film is presented in 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen. The movie like others of its genre, uses a lot of darks to complete the picture. The colors used really add to the film which is rare when a lot of it is spent in poor lighting conditions. I liked the picture for the most part, except felt that some of the scary moments could have showed more depth in presentation.
The audio is provided in 5.1 English, Spanish and French Dolby Digital. The audio does its job of adding to the tense moments with a good use of surrounds and loudness at the right moments. The dialog is clear for the most part except for the scary voices which aren’t always clear (but maybe they aren’t supposed to be). The channels are very active and it makes for a good sound presentation. Subtitles are also provided in English, Spanish and French.
- Unlocking the Uninvited 19:00: A really good behind the scenes featurette. It turns out this is a remake of a Korean Horror Film by the name of the Tale of Two Sisters However, the plot was very hard to follow and they decided to revise it for American showing. The Guard Brothers (who strike me as very creepy, I mean what brothers agree with each other all the time?) also talk about location of the movie. Apparently, they had a lot of houses fall through until they came upon the house in the movie which is located north of Vancouver. How come all of the good movies are shot in Canada?
- Deleted Scenes 5:39: 4 deleted scenes: These scenes really don’t add to the plot any. In fact, a couple of them might have hinted stronger at the ending and made the reality a lot less shocking.
- Alternate Ending :51: A very similar ending to the ending in the movie but doesn’t really tie up loose ends like the original.
- Previews: Star Trek, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, and Van Wilder: Freshman Year.
The Uninvited didn’t do very good at the box office. In fact, it only drummed up roughly $30 million domestic (and nothing abroad). But based on IMDB reviews and my own honest opinion, this just suffered from bad market planning. The story does pack a punch with a fresh good ending that for the most part you will not see coming. The casting and directing were both excellent. The disc fared slightly worse with better than average marks in video and audio. The extras were unfortunately meager and would have fared better with a commentary or some separate documentaries on the Korean film. This movie gets a hearty recommendation to anybody who doesn’t mind being scared just a little.