The Uninvited (Review)


“Avon calling”.

The Uninvited would be an apt title for any number of US remakes of foreign language films, and even 20 odd year old American films for that matter.

Other proposals for you:

  • – The Unnecessary
  • – The Uninspired Ideas
  • – The Underwhelming
  • – The Uninteresting
  • – The Unbelievably Bad

Yet the hits keep coming, here we have a remake of the Korean movie “A Tale Of Two Sisters”, which I was introduced to about 3 years ago. What happened was some friends went overseas to one of those mischevious Asian countries where the naughty DVD pirates live.

In one of their shopping sojourns they did some sifting through the racks and purchased many discs for their own personal use, as they were finishing up they came across this:

One of my "serial killer" films.

One of my “serial killer” films.

Now pirate DVD’s are pretty cheap (and nasty), so they threw it in the pile and made a beeline for my shack upon their return informing me that “We saw this and immediately thought of you.”

Gee thanks guys! I have been told by my sister in law that she doesn’t understand my love of “serial killer” movies, this from the same person who watches every CSI, Law and Order and Criminal Minds episode made without emotion. Now I realise that at times I have non-mainstream taste, but the fact that a family portrait where the children are wearing blood soaked clothes inspires thoughts of me is a little unsettling to me.

Anyway so I watched the thing (I’ll watch almost anything) and was impressed that it wasn’t a trashy piece of crap and was actually a pretty good movie. My friends were amazed that not only had I watched the movie but Iwas recommending it back to them. (On a side note sometimes watching a movie without having any idea about it or advance information can be OK, it’s how I discovered The Descent about a year before it was released wide, so I had time to spread the good word and actually pre-hype something that was so awesome that everyone found out about anyway. A second side note I am almost dreading The Descent 2, I just hope it won’t suck.)

So I was admittedly sceptical when Hollywood in its infinite wisdom said they were remaking A Tale Of Two Sisters, I heard they were doing so around 18 months ago (and informed my DVD finding friends) and then read precious little about it again.

So here it is: I’ve now seen the remake. Not even sure what motivated me to watch it, I guess I didn’t mind the original and I thought there was potential so I gave it a chance.

A few initial thoughts…

– How did the Dad read the Anna’s lips from 40m through a window? I couldn’t read her lips and I was watching a close up of her face!

– If “something bad” is in your room why would you turn your back to it deliberately?

– I’m not angry at myself for watching it, but I’ll hardly be recommending it on again to anyone but the friends that put me onto “A Tale…” in the first place.

– This is not the worst remake I’ve seen, but that’s as glowing an accolade as I can come up with.

– It’s refreshing to see actors playing adolescents who appear adolescent.

– Is it still considered a spoiler if I say that the (re)makers didn’t deviate much from the original?

– What the hell did the poster (above) have to do with the film?

Now the review.

It’s worth mentioning again for some perspective: The original was made in Korea by Korean film-makers, this is a US made remake.

The plot: Anna returns to the family home from the loony bin (mental hospital) after witnessing the death of her invalid mother in a massive fire that engulfed the “granny flat” that she lived in. Anna’s mother required care from a live-in nanny, who since the incident has moved into the primary residence with Anna’s father. The Dad is played by David Strathairn, who is good but has little to do but look troubled and confused, the nanny is Elizabeth Banks who has been in almost every MA rated comedy in the last couple of years and is usually quite likeable in her films. Aussie Emily Browning plays Anna and her sister is played by the cool-ly named Arielle Kebbell.

Shortly after returning home Anna is lead to believe that her Mother’s death was no accident. The rest of the movie is concerned with her investigations into this.

That’s it for plot. The remake is well acted, pretty well made and looks good, it’s just uninspired and seems to simply go through the motions. Most of the scares are derived from flashbacks and visions and usually have a payoff which is generally a cheap shock.

There are so many visions in fact that I was reminded of “The Simpsons”, the show that has no peer when it comes to hallucinations and dream sequences, (“Flintstones chewable morphine”, “Homer loves Mindy”, “I call the big one Bitey”).

One annoying throw in was the (supposedly clever) inclusion of a red-herring third party, and the closing sequences apparently wrap up the loophole. The fact is that the red herring makes no sense when you think about it, and unfortunately most of the visions that occur through the first hour of the film revolve around it, rendering them void. It is a bit of a middle finger to the audience when you go along with film-makers and then realise that none of it makes sense.

As this is the US approximation of the original don’t expect any slow build, or any long quiet sequences to build mood and set tone, this is loud bits and “jump out of nowhere” scares all the way. The climax is overdone, loud and blustery, there are parallels to another famous movie of the 90’s that I won’t name for fear of giving plot points away (I’m not saying it’s a rip but they don’t bring anything new to the table).

Final Rating – 6.5 / 10. Turn your brain off and it’s an OK slumber party flick, but that doesn’t give an endorsement to those of us that aren’t teenage girls! (This ain’t your 40 Year Old Virgin Elizabeth Banks.)

About OGR

While I try to throw a joke or two into proceedings when I can all of the opinions presented in my reviews are genuine. I don't expect that all will agree with my thoughts at all times nor would it be any fun if you did, so don't be shy in telling me where you think I went wrong... and hopefully if you think I got it right for once. Don't be shy, half the fun is in the conversation after the movie.
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