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It's not easy to make a horror movie these days. The critics will hate it by definition: their expectations are always high and mostly unsatisfiable. They will call them uninspirational, uninteresting, and not original enough. With time, the horror genre has become an underdog of the movie industry. Prior to watching this movie, I had no knowledge about the plot whatsoever and it turned out to be good for me. I won't beat around the bush: I'm not a horror fanatic, but this one, I enjoyed from the beginning until the very end and I was pleasantly surprised with the outcome. The thing I appreciated the most was the great amount of mystery: at some point the movie becomes more a mystery movie than a horror movie. The plot is interesting at the very least: and it does make you think who the main villain might be. I personally had many guesses and I though I got it right, but the ending surprised me. And there's nothing I enjoy more than an ending I did not see coming. The surroundings are beautiful and the movie is very well shot. Visually, the pictures are very satisfying, another thing you would not expect. The acting is also professional, along the score: all these parts, I have no complaints about. The movie was, for some reasons I don't fully understand, certified as not fresh enough. I do agree, some moments are painfully cliché, but in this case, I found it charming. Isn't it a part of the horror movie to expect that a hand will try to reach you under the bed? It will make you jump in your place either way, so what's the deal? As long it's not cheesy, it's good enough for me. I think that if the creators maybe took a risk and avoided those couple of clichés, the movie would have been praised by critics. But who cares about their opinion anyway? The movie is really enjoyable and if that is what matters to you, don't hesitate and watch it. You won't regret it.
While many people are just so put off by this film for many reasons, I
was very surprised by how it actually turned out.
Although the original, "A Tale of Two Sisters", was an epic movie that delivered certain moods and feelings that this movie (and most other films to date) couldn't quite capture, this film was still just great.
One thing to understand was that this movie was completely westernized. Remakes such as "The Grudge" take place in Japan, but the main characters are replaced with an American or European cast, and sometimes the story just doesn't quite fit the way it should with that type of a cast. In this film, the "A Tale of Two Sisters" story is completely translated into an American setting, in the north in a small town. The characters are tweaked a little to accommodate the new setting, and so are some of the scenes and plot lines. This is where many fans of the original get upset and get their panties in a bunch.
If this film was truly remade true to the original, it would just be the original film itself being remade 5 years later with the same cast and same script. This film is honestly one of the best Asian-horror remakes that has been made in the past 3 or 4 years if not ever. The cast gives solid performances and there were little or no plot holes. There were actually less plot holes in this film than the original. Of course I liked the original more, but I'm just saying this film executed certain things that the first film didn't, just like the first film executed certain things this film didn't. They are meant to be similar but different, and that is what makes both of them worth seeing.
A lot of people seem to be judging this movie by the trailer alone, but
I was lucky enough to see an advance screening today, and I have to say
that the movie was not what I expected. Sure, some of the obvious plot
points in the trailer are there, but overall, the movie was really
quite good. Suspenseful, scary at the right moments, with a hint of a
flavor you don't see in most movies.
I'm not going to say much about it, but take my word for it that I thought it was really well done. It's not perfect, but it definitely does well for itself. Don't just judge a book by its cover, nor a movie simply by its trailer.
Yes, it may be a remake, but it's a good remake. I give it: 8/10.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
"The Uninvited" is about teenager Anna (Emily Browning), who spent time
in a psychiatry institution after the accidental death of her sickly
mother in a fire. But after ten months, she returns home to her
spacious New England house that rests on edge of the coast. While happy
to be back with her older sister, Alex (Arielle Kebbel), she is not so
happy with her father's (David Strathairn) new girlfriend, Rachael
(Elizabeth Banks), a nurse who took care of her mother up until the
accident, and is now living in her house. Rachael seems to be hiding
something, and the girls become convinced that she was responsible for
the fire that killed their mother. As they dig deeper into Rachael's
past, more suspicions arise, and Anna finds herself being contacted by
the ghosts of both her mother, and three mysterious children that have
a connection to Rachael...
I was somewhat skeptical going into this movie, seeing that it was a remake of the Korean "A Tale of Two Sisters", and the fact that it was a PG-13 horror movie, which is often a bad sign. But I was pleasantly surprised with "The Uninvited", because it ended up being much more than your typical teenage horror thriller. First off, the screen writing is wonderful here. The same "evil stepparent" setup has been done before, but there are a number of plot twists, turns of events, and nice little quirks that keep it from being too average. The film overall was really unpredictable in most respects, that is unless you have seen the original Korean film (which I have not, so I was very interested all along). The supernatural lacing in the story is well done too, combining ghosts and spirits with real-life danger that threatens our two leading ladies.
The cinematography is impressive, and setting is remarkable too, as the entire film unfolds in the confines of a beautiful, large New England home that sits perched on the side of the rocky ocean cliffs, a location that gives plenty of space for creepy action to unfold. It's atmospheric because of this as well, and has a comfortable - yet, more often than not, creepy- feel to it. I like the fact that the film takes its time building itself, shying away from being too shocking and posing plenty of questions in its first act, and then kicking into gear in the second and tossing the shocking truth behind all of the events right at your face. The ever-tiring jump scares are limited here, with suspense being the more the main focus, which was really welcome and a change from the norm. The pacing is delectable, and the tension is present as it grows toward the climax, which is nothing short of jaw-dropping.
Also, I'd like to mention the cast here. Emily Browning (of 2002's "Ghost Ship") plays the leading role as the curious and quiet younger sister, playing her role perfectly with the face of an angel. Arielle Kebbel is also very good as her older, party-loving (but serious) sister, who aids her in the uncovering of Rachael's past. Rachael herself, the devilish stepmother figure is played by Elizabeth Banks (whom I have seen mainly do comedy work), and manages to be threatening and elusive despite her good looks. Also notable is David Strathairn (whom I recognized from "Dolores Claiborne") as the unbelieving father. The ensemble of actors here is strong, and their chemistry with each other surprisingly really works, which I think added a lot to the film.
As far as the ending is concerned, I won't spoil things, but it's clever, really. It completely came out of left field for me, and I was dumbfounded and giddy with anxiousness within the final ten minutes. Sure, similar plot twists have come about before - but it was really unexpected- and the funny thing is, after thinking about it, there are clues that are dropped along the way. Problem is, they're so subtle that the viewer doesn't even notice, and I really liked that. I was completely caught off-guard. And the final shot is an innocently creepy seal on the envelope of a clever and entertaining horror movie.
Overall, "The Uninvited" is a very welcome change from the standard PG-13 horror pictures, and has the caliber of much more sophisticated horror movies. The classic horror atmosphere, creepy sets, and tense character interactions make this movie work, not to mention the twisted ending which is an unexpected smack in the face. "The Uninvited" is an enormously fun, well-constructed flick that retains an elegance that most horror movies nowadays (especially PG-13 thrillers) fail to achieve. (Also note: this film is in no relation to the 1940s ghost film of the same name) 9/10.
"The Uninvited". Good movie. Scary? Not really. Worth seeing? Yes,
definitely. But most fans of the original "A Tale of Two Sisters" will
probably hate it. Before watching this I did read the plot. It may have
been stupid to do so and it did spoil the movie. But let me tell you,
it was still a good experience at the theaters.
The acting was...brilliant. Especially Browning. I really liked the cinematic effect. The cinematographer, Dan Landin, did an excellent job. The lighting was good. The camera angles were good. The sound was also good thanks to the Sound Department.
"The Uninvited" is very different and unique. It may have a few cliché jumps and scares, but in the end it was really worth seeing. So if you're wanting to see a meaningful movie of vengeance and reality, watch this one. You'll be happy you did.
This was a pretty good fright flick. It kept the viewer engaged right
up to the ending and while it seemed somewhat formulaic in terms of
plot development and things that go bump in the night, it had plenty of
scary moments and more than served its purpose, which was a few hours
Most of the movie deals with the relationship of sisters Anna and Alex with Rachel, the girlfriend of their father. Anna thinks Rachel murdered their late mother and possibly was behind some earlier unsolved murders. However, Anna was recently released from a mental institution and has some emotional issues that raises more suspicions about her than about Rachel. On the other hand, Rachel has some questionable aspects about her past that don't seem quite right. This guessing game continues until the dramatic ending.
The screenplay was very good, the cinematography captured the rocky coastline of Maine nicely, and the film was helped by good performances from Elizabeth Banks as Rachel, David Strathairn as the father, and Emily Browning as Anna.
This was a good horror movie well worth checking out.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
***** Major Spoilers Here, please revisit after you see the movie **** It is totally obvious this movie rips off the best qualities of other good/great movies i.e. 6th Sense, The Ring, The Shining, Fight Club --- But it rips it off pretty good in my opinion... I can imagine a lot of hard core IMDb'ers will poo poo this , but as far as my Friday night at the movies it was money well spent. I knew there would be a twist, and in that knowledge I was watching for it --- Im a relatively smart guy and should have spotted it, but the "twist" was pulled off pretty flawlessly and it did NOT leave me feeling cheated. In fact it was so well done and so subtle. From the beginning to the end we are given little clues, introduced to dialog and characters that when the final revelation is given I didn't feel cheated or that it was a gimmick. In a way I had more of a feeling similar to the end seen in Seven where it wasn't really a twist that you were expected to figure out, but rather just what it was , a revelation of what you were seeing and what the characters motives were. This is not an Oscar contender, but a pretty good movie that if you take it for what it is, a pretty entertaining movie that will leave you thinking about what you just saw as your driving home.
I typically find newer horror movies to be cheesy, humorous, boring, and above all: not scary. You know that feeling you get when a movie starts to take its toll on your patients and causes your eyes to wander around the theater? You don't get that at all with this film. This movie grabbed me from the beginning and refused to let go. The film's music score is extremely effective at creating a suspenseful and uneasy viewer sensation, which I think deserves full appreciation for the movie's ghostly flavor. Without any doubt, appropriate music in a movie is like butter on popcorn. Would Jaws scare you without the renowned theme music? The cast was nothing less then superb. Emily Browning was perfect at playing the "sad, quiet girl with horrible visions" role. I'm not going to spoil it for anyone, but the ending of this movie really twists your mind and makes you think. I found it to be an adequate yet abrupt closure for the story despite how it is following a certain trend with recent horror movie endings.
I saw this movie BEFORE the original Korean horror film ('A Tale of Two
Sisters' ) that it was based on and I found this a bland, blunter,
popcorn shocker version of the film.
The sole merit of this film is Emily Browning. She turns in a credible performance. You believe in her, makes you fear for her, and that's half the battle.
So it's such a shame that the directors and screenwriters drop the ball so badly. Everything in this movie is SO geared to a major twist in the last reel that instead of making you bug out with its rug-pulling impact, like Sixth Sense or Usual Suspects do, it instead just makes you roll your eyes.
Why? Because like those 2 films i've mentioned this flick lacks of any preceding foreshadowing or character nuance thus robbing the end twist of its intended impact. Oh, and the cheesy J Horror ghosts moments seem more Scary Movie than The Ring.
The Korean original was creepier, confusing in parts but it comes together in the end and the cinematography is beautifully framed (one impressive shot comes out from underwater and up onto a deck where the titular sisters are sitting). The Guard Brothers ignore such artistry and go for a generic approach and when they do breakaway its to copy/homage a Kubrick helicopter shot from 'The Shining'.
Strathairn (fantastic in Good Night + Good Luck) is wasted. Banks, who has proved her on screen versatility in an eclectic choice of roles in multiple pics over the past year, here goes for the fairy tale Step mother - the steel under her smile was borderline hammy but she definitely is one of the best (and overlooked) actresses in the business.
All in all - avoid this film and seek out the Korean original instead but if it turns up on cable and you have 87 minutes to waste - watch it for Browning and Banks and the fun of yawning at a schlock-y story. LOL
After being cleared for release from a mental hospital, Anna (Emily
Browning) returns home to her writer father Steven (David Strathairn)
and sister Alex (Arielle Kebbel). In her absence, Emily's father has
grown closer to her late mother's former caretaker Rachel (Elizabeth
Banks). Anna is continually hallucinating and seeing her dead mother,
insisting that her death was not an accident and that Rachel had
something to do with it. With this in mind, she sets out with Alex to
prove Rachel is not everything she seems.
I did not expect much from The Uninvited, but surprisingly, I received a lot more than I expected.
Despite being an American remake of the Korean film A Tale of Two Sisters, The Uninvited does enough to make it stand out on its own. I never saw the original film, but I imagine it looked different than this film does. It is dark and atmospheric from the very beginning, and continues on the same wavelength to the very end of the film. It frequently blends horror with psychological terror, developing a movie that could have easily been a throwaway scare-flick for pre-teens to scream through, but ends up being a fairly accomplished film. This is not a film anywhere near the quality of the greatness found in the likes of The Silence of the Lambs, but it is a film that was not just scraped out for a profit.
The story itself, as twisty and loopy as it gets, is fairly well done. Although I was not too interested at the beginning, the film draws you in rather tightly, revealing itself quite nicely over its short 87-minute running time. Yes, there are plenty of predictable moments laced throughout the film, but there are a few moments of genuine surprise as well. The film never makes the claim that it is trying to be original, but it does a unique enough job that you can only see shades of what has come before (as opposed to a standard American horror film basically spelling out exactly what it is ripping off, or homaging sort to speak). Even with the cheap scares around every corner, it still managed to make me jump back more than once.
What does not make sense however, is how some things are explicitly stated while others are briefly alluded to. A lot of what happens is fairly obvious for even the least astute of audiences, yet the film dumbs itself down more than once to fit the conventions of 2000-era PG-13 horror. When something ambiguous comes up, it is either explained in-depth, or done away with entirely. A rather crucial character element of Anna's is revealed very close to the beginning of the film, but is never explored in any capacity. We understand her motivations and what drives her quest for the truth, but there are a few background details that even after the film concludes, still left me a bit baffled. Why explain some things that are obvious, but not bother touching on ones that are not?
Despite not having starred in a lot of things, Browning is quite good in her role as Anna. Struggling throughout the film with mental anguish and hallucinations, Browning makes this young teenage character convincing in a way only someone so young could do. She is not perfect in the role, but you can see the desperation and heartbreak in her face and her actions. This is an actress who becomes her role, and never falters out of it. She carries the film from beginning to end, and never looks the worst for it. She is a young actress I hope to continue to see more of, especially in higher fare.
Kebbel, while not as powerful as Browning, commands when she is on-screen. She works beautifully off of Browning, and makes their relationship clear and pure from their first moment together. Their chemistry makes the film as surprising as it is. It easily could have been something that was clouded over, or underplayed. But the filmmakers use every opportunity to stress the strength of the relationship of the two sisters, and their willingness to go the distance for each other. Some moments are just heartbreaking, seeing the lengths they are willing to go, but Kebbel keeps herself in check at all times, and gives a great performance.
Strathairn, despite the Oscar-nomination for Good Night, and Good Luck., seems to have fallen on being the wise older character in every movie since, and gives the same old performance here. He is good as always, but seems more mellowed down than he should be. Banks on the other hand, is completely out of her comfort zone, and her performance is an obvious reflection. In some scenes, she is downright terrifying as the evil potential stepmother, and in others, she is laughably bad. There is no middle ground, and no one seems to have been able to suggest any consistency tips for her. While she gives a decent performance anyway, it could have been stronger with a more confident actress.
But what the film is guilty of is its lack of reinvention. It is a unique piece of horror for 2009, but the film never strives to be anything bigger or better. It lacks the motivations to really make something of itself, and never even tries to be something better than it could be. The Uninvited really surprised me for how good it actually was, but surprised me more in how easily it could have been even better. A lean running time, a great pair of young actresses, and some decent supporting acting could have made this small picture quite the notorious horror flick. But instead, it seems content just being an above average run-of-the-mill psychological thriller.
(Portions of this review originally appeared on http://www.dvdfanatic.com).
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