Published Jan 29, 2009The Uninvited is a remake of the Korean film A Tale of Two Sisters, which was directed by Kim Ji-woon, who recently made the awesome The Good, The Bad, The Weird last year. It's a perfect example of how an intriguing, scary and ambiguous story can be turned into something totally ludicrous in the wrong hands.
The story begins with a young girl named Anna (Emily Browning), as she prepares to return to her family's home after a stint in a mental hospital. We learn right off the bat through some clunky expository dialogue with her shrink that her terminally ill mother died in a terrible fire nearly a year before.
Anna tried to kill herself in the aftermath and landed in hospital. Now she's on her way back and will have to adjust to life with her dad, her sister Alex (Arielle Kebbel, a remake veteran who you might remember from The Grudge 2) and dad's new girlfriend, Rachael (Elizabeth Banks).
At the hospital, Anna was troubled by recurring nightmares about her mother's death. Back home, she begins to have even more elaborate dreams and terrifying visions that all point her, slowly but surely, to the dreadful conclusion that her mother's death was no accident and that the new girlfriend might just be evil, possibly even involved in her mom's death.
With help from her rebellious older sister, Anna delves into her would-be step-mom's past looking for proof to support her theories, while everyone around her continues to treat her with kid gloves after her stint in the nut house. Meanwhile, her visions are increasing in frequency and intensity, becoming more and more real every day.
There are two or three effective startles in The Uninvited but on the whole it's a clumsily written teen slasher film with a Shyamalan-esque twist that feels entirely too laboured by the time you get to it. Plus, the script's rather obsessive desire to tie up loose ends results in some needless reveals towards the end when things might have been better left a little bit ambiguous. (Dreamworks/Paramount)