The Uninvited Review: Predictably Uninviting

March 23, 2009 by  
Filed under - Home, Film Reviews

THE UNINVITED: On general release from Friday 24th April 2009

I am the kind of weak minded individual that horror films prey on.

The person that you can hear squirming in the cinema from five aisles away, yanking her turtleneck over her eyes as the lone heroine traverses the darkened corridor to see where that suspicious noise came from (why do they do that?! What happened to good, old fashioned, running away?).

As you can imagine, I haven’t been keen to embrace the Asian horror remake. I watched the US version of The Ring with a friend late one night, after he informed me it was fairly tame in comparison to the original. After almost two hours in a state that can only be described as bordering cardiac arrest, said “friend” up and left me cowering under my blankets with the lights on, convinced the girl from the well was coming to read me the last rites.

Even rocking in the foetal position and repeatedly whispering “there’s no place like home” didn’t get me to sleep. Consequently, I was somewhat sceptical about The Uninvited, a re-make of South Korean film A Tale of Two Sisters and the first feature from the Guard brothers, Thomas and Charles.

Emily Browning plays Anna Ivers, a young woman plagued by dreams of her mother’s death in a boathouse fire; a night that led Anna to a hasty suicide attempt and ten months in psychiatric care. When released from therapy, Anna returns home to confront her ghosts.


Before that fateful night Anna’s mother was critically ill and was receiving in-house care from nurse Rachel (Elizabeth Banks, or as I prefer to call her – the doctor from Scrubs that JD involuntarily impregnates). Ten months on, Rachel and Anna’s father Steven are playing house, to sister Alex’s dismay, and Anna cannot escape the feeling that her mother is trying to send her a message from beyond the grave.

For a film that could have gone down the conventional “sexy slasher” route, The Uninvited does defy the stereotype. I didn’t feel anywhere close to a panic attack (it did only have a 15 certificate), although I was jumping five feet into the air every time the music slid like a hacked stump into minor chords.

Elizabeth Browning seems to be cast for her bee-stung lips and cute freckled face over her acting ability and throughout Elizabeth Banks is built up to be responsible for the death of Mrs Ivers which fails to be truly believable. When the twist is finally revealed the film becomes forgettable and it’s really not that scary anymore.

Although entertaining, ultimately the aim of the horror film is to petrify the viewer long after they have finished watching. Even though The Ring put my psyche in a blender and reduced me to a gibbering wreck, I will always remember it.

That’s the key to horror success that The Uninvited fails to grasp.

Sally McIlhone

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