The Uninvited (November 25th 2009)
The Uninvited is a remake of the Korean film A Tale of Two Sisters. It is, somewhat a tale of two sisters. It is also the story of a crazy bitch whose craziness is apparently enough to explain every single flaw in the film.
The crazy bitch in question is young Anna, played fairly ably by Emily Browning (of Lemony Snicket ‘fame’). Anna is in a mental institute following an attempted suicide after the ‘accidental’ death of her ill mother. At the start of the film she is released back to her family, including new step-mother Rachel Summers (Elizabeth Banks – another example of a more than competent actor lowering themselves to a very poor standard), father Steven (David Straitharn), and her sister Alex (Arielle Kebbel).
The plot centres on Anna’s suspicion that Rachel had something to do with the death of her mother, as Rachel was nurse to the mother at the time of her death. She manages to get Alex on the side of her theory, but Rachel manages to get in the way every time Anna tries to communicate this to her father, or to (brief) love interest Matthew.
Given that this film runs at a very short 83 minutes, you may be forgiven for thinking that something would have happened by around the 50 minute mark. Not so. There have been a few scenes of tension between Anna and Rachel, as well as a fairly standard “Dad, I know you won’t believe me, but your new girlfriend killed our mum” “Don’t be crazy. You need to learn to love your new mum, because I love her, and you should be happy that I’m happy” type scene, but nothing else of any note.
All the supposed drama occurs in the last few minutes, and given how straightforward the plot has been up until this point, it seems fairly academic to point out that there is a twist at the end. It isn’t a great twist. Or even a good one. To reveal it, while doing you the favour of not making you watch this atrocity, would still be slightly amiss. However, it is safe to say that this is not a new twist. In fact, imagine a cross between the twist in Shrooms and the twist in the remake of My Bloody Valentine, and you are pretty much there.
The Uninvited is directed by The Guard Brothers – Thomas and Charles – a British pair who have only existed in the medium of short film before this, and while it may be slightly harsh, it would make sense for them to stay away from feature film for a while longer. The immaturity in their direction – somehow succeeding in creating a horror film devoid of tension, dread or indeed horror only adds to the failings of the script, written by Craig Rosenberg, Doug Miro and Carlo Bernard.
This is a terrible film. There is no disputing that fact. Like most films, this has a redeeming factor, in that the four main performances (Browning, Kebbel, Banks, Straitharn) were all more than competent. Good performances do not a good film make, however, and this has to go down as the worst film of 2009 to this point.