I was excited when I popped The Uninvited into my DVD player this morning. After all, I was looking forward to some creepy dead kid and a bunch of disturbing monsters haunting a scantily clad Odette Yustman. But then it dawned on me that I was thinking of The Unborn, that other January horror release. Excitement plummeted, followed by expectations. And for good reason.
The Uninvited is a remake of one of my favorite horror movies, the Korean-made A Tale of Two Sisters. The Korean version was creepy, subtle and confusing, avoiding convention and delivering a superbly complex thriller. As one might expect, The Uninvited is a shallow, routine movie where directors Charles and Thomas Guard resort to cheesy hallucinations and dream sequences to make up for a lack of storytelling ability.
In all fairness, The Uninvited isn’t horrible; compared to some other recent Asian horror remakes, it’s tolerable and actually has a plot. The problem is that I remember A Tale of Two Sisters being brilliantly engaging, and this one is more of a routine teen horror flick. The screenplay is so-so, and lead Emily Browning isn’t particularly great. Even Elizabeth Banks and David Strathairn seem lost; they most likely just signed on for the paycheck.
To be perfectly honest, I couldn’t remember too much about A Tale of Two Sisters, despite it being one of my favorites. I just remember it being really good. Going into The Uninvited, I couldn’t recall the twist, though it may be safe to assume that when I say the ending is pretty obvious if you’re looking for it, I may be subconsciously biased. Nevertheless, given the simplification that the writers and directors applied to the story, The Uninvited feels overly basic in its delivery, characterizations and storytelling.
The Uninvited could have been worse, but it’s yet another unnecessary remake that butchers what made the original so great. I strongly suggest you put up with subtitles and go rent A Tale of Two Sisters instead.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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