Uninvited but nevertheless endurable US re-make.
When Anna, who lost her mother in a tragic accident, returns from a psychiatric clinic, she is happily re-united with her sister Alex. But she also comes home to Rachel, her father’s new girlfriend, to which she doesn’t take a liking. When terrifying nightmares begin to haunt her, Anna gets convinced not all is well with her family…
The South-Korean horror classic (yes, already) (aka Janghwa, Hongryeon) was a bona fide masterpiece and, in my humble opinion, one of the only Asian ghost-stories deserving all the hype and praising reviews. A Tale of Two Sisters was the real thing with a genuinely haunting atmosphere, a strong story concept and unpredictable twists. An American remake was therefore inevitable, but somehow I felt quite confident about The Uninvited as soon as I heard it was in production. The Guard Brothers are reasonably unknown directors but the original screenplay is so strong that it is almost impossible to mess it up. I’m as much anti-remake as the next guy, but The Uninvited is a respectful, occasionally atmospheric and stylishly shot mystery thriller with some excellent acting performances and a well-structured, logical scenario.
This movie isn’t nearly as psychologically challenging or disturbing as the South Korean original, but understandably this American version wanted to appeal to much larger and younger audiences. There are also several essential plot differences between this version and the original. The remake is noticeably a lot less convoluted. Now, the original admittedly was a little too complex but this version is kept so unmistakable and straightforward, that everyone who missed some fragments can pick them up here. Anna returns home from the psychiatric clinic with her father, six months after the traumatizing boat house explosion in which her sick mother died. Anna is happy to be reunited with her older sister Alex, but both girls detest their father’s new girlfriend Rachel. Anna begins to suffer from nightmares and hallucinations in which the ghost of her deceased mother seemingly tries to tell her something. The girls develop a theory that Rachel deliberately killed their mother in order to marry their father and even that she has done this before already, back in the 1990′s when she had a different name and killed the three children of a family.
The Uninvited is a PG-13 movie, so don’t go expecting to see many scary images or unsettling murder sequences. The few special effects are very adequate, but it’s mainly the breath-taking British Columbian filming locations that leave the biggest impression. Anna & Alex are played by Emily Browning & Arielle Kebbel and they are both terrific as the two struggling teenage sisters. Also Elizabeth Banks gives away a good performance even though her wicked stepmother character is ultimately stereotypical. David Strathairn is a brilliant actor as well, but he’s extremely underused here.