‘The Uninvited’ stays true to similar films in Korean horror genre

Laura Lofgren

Film struggles to make impact

“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 was the highest-grossing Korean horror film, 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” begins with Anna (Emily Browning, “Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events”) returning from a psychiatric facility after the recent tragedy of her mother’s death. After her therapist lets her go home, Anna arrives to a completely new scene. Her father (David Strathairn) has become involved with Rachael (Elizabeth Banks), her mother’s former nurse.

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Starring Elizabeth Banks,

Emily Browning, David Strathairn

Directed by Charles and Thomas Guard

Distributed by DreamWorks

Stater rating (out of five): ☆☆

Trying to understand what has happened, Anna is led to a reconnection between her and her sister Alex (Arielle Kebbel). Threatened by the presence of Rachael, 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 Rachael’s past and find potentially damaging facts.

When accused by Anna and Alex, Rachael doesn’t deny anything. Instead, the three are involved in a battle of strengths and tranquilizers which leads to a most ominous and unexpected end.

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

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 decent 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 Browning’s. Banks had the stepmom role down to a T and portrayed Rachael in a classy, nervous air with a hint of killer on the side. Kebbel had the whole bratty, teen-alcoholic part ready and relatable to high school sophomores. Strathairn played the role of rich author/father who appears to love his mistress more than his own children.

Running at only 87 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].