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The Uninvited

2009-05-29 14:51
The Uninvited

What it's about:

Anna (Emily Browning) is a disturbed young girl haunted by nightmares and visions after her terminally ill mother dies in a mysterious accident. She is released from the psychiatric hospital where she was confined after a suicide attempt, and returns home to her father and his new lover (who's also her mother’s former nurse), Rachel (Elizabeth Banks). Her visions grow more intense, and she becomes certain that Rachel may have been responsible for her mother’s death.

What we thought of it:

The Uninvited is a remake of a Korean horror (Janghwa, Hongryeon), but luckily it steers clear of the usual cavalcade of ghostly children with long black hair and cursed appliances. Unluckily it's made up of 100% haunted house and thriller clichés from start to finish, and is one of those movies in which every shot will remind you of something else.

Without dropping any spoilers, it’s not an overstatement to say that the story would fit comfortably on the back of a matchbox. Unlike more complex murder mysteries where character development is usually a plot device to establish possible motive, The Uninvited sticks rigidly to stereotypes established during the first five minutes.

Emily Browning is sympathetic enough as the pretty Cinderella with a wounded psyche and Elizabeth Banks is sufficiently sexy, evil and conniving as the stepmother. There isn’t really more than that, and other characters pop up merely to propel the plot along, rather than add anything to it.

The up side to all this is that the delivery is slick, and there are a lot of genuinely creepy scenes that should take your mind off the obvious comparisons to other horror movies. The pacing is the movie's greatest asset – it barely leaves you enough time to even consider a plot hole before you have the climax on your hands. In the tradition of The Sixth Sense, The Others, All the Boys Love Mandy Lane and a whole load of Asian horrors, there is a familiar twist of corny Twilight Zone proportions, which is contrived and unsatisfying to say the least.

I enjoyed watching The Uninvited, and wanted to say something good about it, but it really is the sort of film that is spoiled by thinking about it at all. If you are the sort of person who will forget it as soon as you leave the cinema, you’ll love it, but if not, you’ll find it an adequate, if generic thriller with a plot as paper thin as its characters.

A troubled girl returns home from an asylum after the accidental death of her mother, only to be tormented by terrifying visions and her father’s sinister new girlfriend.

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