Friday, March 27, 2009

The Uninvited (2009)

Based on A Tale of Two Sisters, The Uninvited is the latest attempt in Hollywood to remake Asian Extreme cinema. The original film is still one of Korea's most original and highest grossing horror films and I enjoyed it so much that I took the time to introduce it to countless friends and relatives over the years and I have purchased multiple copies on DVD, I tell you this simply to point out that my opinion on The Uninvited would automatically be biased.

Having said that, this film is not A Tale of Two Sisters, and I imagine its retitling may also be because of this, whilst The Uninvited shares many similarities in plot, a few direct scene steals and even a few of the major twists, for the most part it is an original retelling of the story.

We are introduced to Anna, a 14 year old girl who lost her sick Mother to a fire, she has spent the last 10 months in an asylum after attempting to take her own life, but is now being released into the care of her Father.

Arriving home she seeks out her older sister Alex, but is instead greeted by her Mother's nurse who has now become romantically involved with her Father. She also notes that the old boat house that was converted to her Mother's sick room has been rebuilt after the fire.

Alex and Anna finally get together and have a sisterly chat, catching up on lost months and the new soon to be step-mother situation. During the night Anna experiences horrible nightmares and is visited by the ghost of her Mother who proclaims that perhaps the fire was not an accident as was once thought.

What follows is a story with many twists where not all is what it seems to be, granted a few of these so called twists are a little obvious (even more so if you are familiar with the original), but there are a couple of genuine surprises making the film to altogether predictable.

The performances are excellent, with Emily Browning perfectly cast as the troubled Anna, Arielle Kebbel plays big sister Alex, Elizabeth Banks is cast as Rachel the step mother in a role that is quite different from her previous efforts in comedy and her cheerful outward appearance hides her bitterness for the girls well. David Strathairn plays the girls Father with equal amounts compassion and a little dab of selfishness.

The movie has some great cinematography that sets the mood well, from darkly list recesses in the New England style house to summer sun sparkling from the waters surrounding. The score by Christopher Young is quite impressive and spooky in all the right parts.

The story holds up for the most part, there are still a few unanswered questions, but on the whole The Uninvited is one of the better Asian horror movie conversions to appear of late.

I would still recommend seeing A Tale of Two Sisters first, but I would not condemn The Uninvited as far as remakes go it does quite a good job.

No comments: