Uninvited fails to live up to Korean predecessor

The Uninvited is inviting; it draws the audience into the story, but at what sacrifice?

The Uninvited is a remake of the South Korean movie A Tale of Two Sisters, which is based on a folktale. Since A Tale of Two Sisters is the highest-grossing Korean horror film, The Uninvited has serious shoes to fill, which it does not do.

The film feels very derivative. Initially, production began just after the success of The Ring, and although it tries to hop on the same horror bandwagon, it all just comes off as a bad imitation.

This movie would almost be better as a mystery or thriller and not a horror film because the story demands more attention than surviving the scares, which makes the scenes that are meant to be “scary” feel very unnecessary and out of place. They add very little to the story and could be easily written out, which would perhaps even make the plot more cohesive.

Overall, the movie is very moody and palpable. Visually, the film is never very outstanding. It oscillates too heavily between functional and pretty, but there are a few moments when the cinematography can really be described as beautiful. The film mostly just showcases the characters and their surroundings, which is okay for a movie of the horror genre but does nothing to assist the viewer experience.

Although not credited first, Elizabeth Banks (Rachael) should receive most of the credit for the film’s success. She really stands out in the mediocrity of the acting. As the stepmother-to-be under question, she does a superb job of playing both “good” and “bad” roles. It is never very clear whether or not she is sinister. Is she just dad’s girlfriend, or is she hiding something? You cannot tell simply based on her acting.

Emily Browning (Anna) barely carries the film, and really gets some help from Arielle Kebbel (Alex, Anna’s sister). They both look a little too young to be involved with the character Matt (played by Jesse Moss). These three have enough chemistry, though, to at least keep their scenes from dragging.

Browning does do a good job of looking confused and overwhelmed, which is really, upon pondering, what any actress who does not know what she is doing would convey. Kebbel does a much better job playing her character than Browning in that she is freshly nonchalant and full of teen angst.

One of the weaknesses of The Uninvited is its unfocused plot that takes several directions at once. There are extraneous matters which seem to complicate every situation and add unnecessary length to the movie. The resolution of the story does not utilize the information that had been presented throughout the movie, which is disappointing.

Also, for being a “horror” film, there are disappointingly few scares, and when these scarce scary scenes finally manifest themselves, the ghosts are perfunctory and scary only by supernatural association. There are only a handful of these scares, which have the length of a child’s attention span. All scares in the film, almost in their entirety, appear in previews that are seen by any television viewer, so there are very few surprises.

However, these scenes are put together well and are more than things simply jumping out suddenly. You know they are coming, which makes them even scarier. They are not cheap scares, but ones that, if nothing else, are well thought out. Of course, there is a twist at the end of the movie, which at first seems outrageous. However, after some guided thought, it makes sense. Although there is some evidence that could possibly lead the viewer to figure out the big ending, there is nothing very substantial. It simply draws what seems to be nonexistent information to form a “climax” for the film.

The Uninvited would have been a much better psychological thriller rather than a psychological horror. The horror in the film is not necessary and detracts from the film as a whole. The Uninvited is not quite what the trailer promises, which is disappointing if you are looking to jump out of your seat.

Overall, the movie takes itself a little too seriously, but that doesn’t mean you cannot enjoy it. It does make you think, which somewhat makes up for the lackluster horror and boring thrills. If you are a horror guru and do decide to see this film, go into it aware of what it will entail. Expect a second-rate horror movie that is not quite as good as its atmospheric and creepy Korean predecessor.