The Uninvited is Hard to Watch
I suppose that title’s more than a bit misleading because of the lack of context. “Hard to watch but easy to enjoy” would be a much more fitting description. I can warn you ahead of time that this movie has both Emily Browning and Arielle Kebbel in it constantly wearing cute outfits and constantly having the camera zoom to see what’s going on with their face. Normally that’d be annoying, but since they’re probably the most adorable actresses I know (aside from Chiaki Kuriyama), the entire movie was more than tolerable.
First thing to cover, The Uninvited is an American rendition of the Korean psychological horror film, Tale of Two Sisters. I’ve seen both of these movies, and my professional movie reviewer opinion is that The Uninvited’s plot is much easier to comprehend. Amazingly enough, it doesn’t take a hit to quality as a result of its transition, which is really quite the milestone in modern films.
Anna Rydell (Browning) is a fifteen year old girl who is returning from a mental hospital after being treated for delusional behavior and suicidal tendencies. Alex (Kebbel) is her sister and best friend, the one who’s unconditionally loving and trusting. Steven, the father, is rather aloof and cold since the death of his wife, even after he gets together with a woman named Rachel. Anna doesn’t like her much. In fact, as the movie progresses, they try to kill eachother. But more on that in a bit.
As this is a horror flick, Anna is haunted by images of her dying mother (among other things). Once upon a darker time, her disabled and resented mom was kept in a boathouse with a bell tied to her wrist. Whenever she rang, Anna or Alex would come to help her. A great explosive tragedy befell her, however, taking her life. As Anna and Alex gradually delve deeper into the enigmatic past of Rachel, they begin to suspect her of murder. Not only of their mother, but of three children as well, all of whom haunt Anna in sleep and in the waking as freaky spirit things.
It doesn’t take long for Anna’s sympathetic boyfriend to get dragged into this as well. After a set of brief encounters, he joins the ranks of the shadowy, twisted revenants Rachel has supposedly murdered. Because of the ambiguous nature of Anna and Alex’s suspicion, one can never be too sure what happened to him. The police said he fell off a sea cliff, which is simple enough. But what if he was pushed? What if the explosion that claimed there mother was the result of tinkering? And what of the pearl necklace that Rachel has? Does the fact that one just like it appears in an image related to the three dead kids mean anything?
Before they can draw any conclusions, though, Rachel catches wind of their research and takes it upon herself to intervene. By the exciting conclusion, you discover that there’s much more to this movie than a murder mystery. It’s much deeper, much more confusing, infinitely more psychological. If you’ve seen Tale of Two Sisters, shut up and keep the ending to yourself. It’s an awesome twist; even I don’t want to spoil it.
The horror aspect of this movie is magnificently done. The camera techniques are something to pay special attention to, because they really catalyze the tension before the scares. Either that or Emily Browning really just pulls you in with her performance. That may be me gushing, but that doesn’t mean that The Uninvited isn’t a damned good film. See it for the scares, the nostalgia of Tale of Two Sisters, or just for two of the cutest actresses in the film industry. Whichever reason, it won’t disappoint.