Directed by: The Guard Brothers
Premise: A remake of the South Korean film A Tale of Two Sisters. A traumatized teenager (Emily Browning) returns to her family after spending time in a mental institution following a house fire that killed her mother. Once home she begins to suspect that her father’s new girlfriend (Elizabeth Banks) may have murdered her mother.
What Works: There are some nice bits between sisters played by Emily Browning and Arielle Kebbel. Kebbel shows a lot of talent and has a natural delivery that could have made her a much better pick for the lead role. As Browning’s character begins to have visions of dead people, the film gets sufficiently creepy and pulls of a few good scares.
What Doesn’t: There are all sorts of problems with this film. The story is a sloppy combination of The Hand that Rocks The Cradle, The Sixth Sense, and The Ring. It’s pretty clear where the film is headed and it goes there with little deviation making most of it very predictable. Aside from some of the moments between the sisters, the acting in The Uninvited ranges from bland to outright awful. Elizabeth Banks does not play her role with any ambiguity and the film quickly turns her into an inferior version of Rebecca De Mornay’s role in The Hand that Rocks The Cradle. Emily Browning is miscast in the lead role. The actress was supposedly twenty years old at the time of filming but she looks about thirteen, making her character’s relationship with a boy played by Jesse Moss extra creepy but not in a way that helps the film. The Uninvited manages some scares but the ending of the picture completely ruins the film, using a schizophrenic-cheat that opens all sorts of holes in the rest of the story and insults the viewer with a cheap gimmick.
Bottom Line: The Uninvited ought to have been a direct-to-video film. Even though some of the technical qualities of the film are solid, the story and the acting drag it back into the mud.
Episode: #230 (March 8, 2009)