The Uninvited (2009)

The Uninvited is the latest in a long line of Korean / Japanese horror films remade by idea-strapped film studios in the USA, stolen wholesale from their oriental counterparts. Ring, Dark Water, Grudge, Into the Mirror, even an actioner like Bangkok Dangerous was recently remade with a badly mulleted Nic Cage. Sometimes the films are little more than a play-by-play of the original without those pesky subtitles distracting us all. They even have a tendency to use the same directors, who attempt to add freshness to a pie they baked months beforehand, a task that is invariably impossible. The Uninvited, however, is placed firmly in the hands of relatively new British directors Charles and Thomas Guard, but any hope this would add freshness is dissolved within the initial opening sequence as they deftly display a willful lack of originality.

The Uninvited is a remake of 2003’s A Tale of Two Sisters, a Korean horror that shares little more than themes and the title’s two siblings. The two sisters in question are Anna (an excellent Emily Browning) and Alex (a passable Arielle Kebbel), who live with their Dad and his new girlfriend Rachel. Anna has just returned home from a 10 month stint in a psychiatric facility following the death of her terminally ill mother in an exploding summer-house incident. Anna was apparently the only witness to the tragedy, but has lost all memory of it except for some by-the-numbers nightmares, where creepy dead children climb out of bin-bags and her burnt up mother points blame-laden fingers at their newest house guest.

The plot is paper thin and obvious: amnesiac daughter returns home after witnessing horrible “accident”, she instantly dislikes Dad’s new girlfriend (her mother’s nurse, of all clichés), finds out Nursey’s not who she claims she is, her Dad doesn’t believe her, violent deaths surround them (clearly CSI New England were on vacation that weekend), more clichés ensue.

It’s an average horror with little scares or tension. Some of the ghosts are reasonably unpleasant – a spine-snapped ex-boyfriend of Anna’s slowly lumbering to a stand is both disturbing and visually arresting.

Naturally with the majority of recent horrors / thrillers, there’s the obligatory twist. Sadly this one has been done so many times before, and better, that you’re neither surprised or impressed. What’s more, if you even stop for half a second and look back at the film pre-twist, most of the events, conversations and situations make no sense now you know everything.

It’s a real shame The Uninvited couldn’t peak above just being another mediocre J-horror re-make, especially considering its strong cast – David Strathairn (criminally underused), Elizabeth Banks and Emily Browning – but the script and direction just weren’t slick enough. It is neither laughably bad or terrifyingly good. Needless to say, if someone invites you to watch it, uninvite yourself. Immediately.

Rating: ★★★☆☆☆☆☆☆☆

2 Comments on “The Uninvited”

  1. Sarah Law says:

    I didn’t hate this nearly as much as I thought I would, it’s made me want to go back and watch A Tale Of Two Sisters now….

    • The Scullion says:

      The original Tale of Two Sisters is so much better than this. I guess I found this remake bitingly pointless, and incredibly frustrating that a talented cast went so horribly to waste. And I love Emily Browning, and pray she does a decent horror movie one day… I mean… Ghost Ship? The Uninvited? Come on, girl, sort it out…

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