‘The Uninvited’ stays true to typical Korean horror films

Laura Lofgren

It appears American filmmakers still can’t get the recipe downpat with this tolerable film

“The Uninvited,” a remake from the Korean horror film “A Tale of Two Sisters,” delivers another Asian horror-American style film resembling “The Grudge,” “The Ring” and so on.

The original film was released in 2003 and is both the highest-grossing Korean horror film and the first to be screened in American theaters. Receiving more positive feedback than its American counterpart, it appears that our American filmmakers can’t quite get the Asian horror film recipe down pat.

“The Uninvited” starts out with Anna (Emily Browning, “Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events”) who has returned from a psychiatric facility after the recent tragedy of her mother’s death. After her therapist gives her the okay to go home, Anna arrives to a completely new scene. Her father (David Strathairn) has become involved with Rachel (Elizabeth Banks), her mother’s former nurse.

Trying to wrap her head around what has happened, Anna is lead to a reconnection between her and her sister Alex (Arielle Kebbel). Threatened by the presence of Rachel, Anna begins having nightmares and hallucinations of her dead mother, who is accusing her former nurse of being a murderer. Together, the sisters investigate into Rachel’s past and find potentially damaging facts.

When accused by Anna and Alex, Rachel does not deny anything that is being said. Instead, the three are involved in a battle of strengths and tranquilizers which leads to a most ominous and unexpected end.

Unexpected deaths and psychoanalyses rank high in “The Uninvited.” While not necessarily full of plot twists, there are a few hints at unsuspected turns in the story.

In my opinion, it wasn’t that bad. I was shocked and even a bit confused as the ending of the film neared. Perhaps it was the screaming 15-year-olds in the seats next to me that took away my ability to catch the upfront plot turn earlier on in the film; nevertheless, I was pleasantly surprised.

“The Uninvited” won’t be up for an Oscar anytime soon, but the Guard Brothers did a not-so-horrible job in the translation from the Korean film to the American.

Lacking the depth the film had a potential for, it needed a little extra something to give it a kick. Full of sexy actresses and actors, the movie had some star-quality and made every girl in America want lips like Emily Browning’s. Elizabeth Banks had the stepmom role down to a T and portrayed Rachel in a classy, nervous air with a hint of killer on the side. Arielle Kebbel had the whole bratty, teen-alcoholic part ready and relatable to high school sophomores. David Strathairn played the role of rich author/father who appears to love his mistress more than his own kids. Someone you might not have heard of who appears in “The Uninvited” is Jesse Moss, who plays Anna’s love interest, Matt.

Running at only 83 minutes, “The Uninvited” could have gone on longer to clarify some points just briefly so viewers weren’t left thinking “What just happened?”

Overall, the Stater gives “The Uninvited” two stars for being a tolerable, interesting film spotted with few horrific surprises and pretty faces, but for being mimicry of yet another Asian director’s work. Can’t Americans come up with their own horror stories?

Contact all reporter Laura Lofgren at [email protected]