Posted: 05/16/2009


The Uninvited

by Del Harvey

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This stylish re-working of Korean director Ji-Woon Kim’s 2003 thriller A Tale Of Two Sisters provides just the right amount of chills, suspense, and tension to be considered a success.

In The Uninvited, we follow the story opens on a young girl, Anna (Emily Browning), who is being released from a mental institute following the brutal death or murder of her mother, a bed-ridden woman whose sudden illness caused her health to sink rapidly. Upon returning home, Anna is immediately drawn into family turmoil when she discovers that her father (Oscar-nominee David Strathairn) is now dating her mother’s young, blonde former nurse (Elizabeth Banks) whose background is a bit sketchy.

Anna’s sister Alex (Ariel Kebbel) fuels and adds to Anna’s skepticism of her mother’s former caretaker and her would-be mother, attempting to convince Anna that their father’s newfound love is a murderess hoping to steal away their father and his fortune. Not only do they find suspicious and potentially dangerous items among her belongings, but whenever no one else is around the former caregiver seems to relish in taunting Anna with half-truths feigned trusts.

Anna, who sometimes doubts her own sanity, is often visited by the ghosts of those who have recently died. The intriguing question is whether or not Anna is imagining these ghostly visits and her soon-to-be stepmother’s cruel intentions, or is she imagining the whole thing.

The story is well managed, meaning that it keeps you guessing right up until the final scenes and the shocking realization. At times I felt aspects of great ghost stories being channeled through The Uninvited, seeing glimpses of The Others, Sixth Sense, and Rebecca in certain scenes and characters. I enjoy a good horror film and was pleasantly surprised by both the quality and depth of The Uninvited. While it may disappoint those who crave pure gore and shock, I think anyone who enjoys a well-spun story told with care will certainly enjoy The Uninvited.

Del Harvey is the founder of Film Monthly, a film teacher, a writer and a film critic in Chicago.

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