Sunday, October 10, 2010

2010 Geek Fright Fest: The Uninvited

The Uninvited (2009)
Rated PG-13 (for violence, language, and mild sexuality)

Directed by The Guard Brothers

Emily Browning
Arielle Kebbel
Elizabeth Banks
David Strathairn

The Uninvited is an Americanized version of the South Korean 2003 release, A Tale of Two Sisters, itself an adaption of the South Korean folktale, "Janghwa Hongreyon-jon". The film begins as Anna Rydell (Emily Browning) describes a disturbing dream to her psychiatrist. She is about to released from a mental facility after a ten month stay, following a break down after her terminally ill mother's death in a freak fire. Anna's homecoming is marred by the presence of Rachel (Elizabeth Banks), her father's girlfriend and her mother's former nurse. Anna and her older sister, Alex (Arielle Kebbel), believe that Rachel and their father were having an affair prior to their mother's death, and there is palpable resentment. Alex refuses to accept Rachel, but Anna is more willing to make the best of the situation.

Despite being declared well, Anna continues to see horrifying hallucinations related to her mother's death and hears her mother's bell ringing when she's alone. Her break down caused lapses in her memory about the night of her mother's death, but as slowly begins to remember what happened, Anna has decide if she can handle knowing the truth.

Browning's angelic face and fragile appearance makes the audience fear for her and Banks does an excellent job as the seemingly sinister Rachel. Reportedly, she based her performance on Rebecca De Mornay's role in the thriller classic, The Hand that Rocks the Cradle and it is easy to see that film's influence. There are some interesting scares and I loved the subplot about Rachel's former employers, but unfortunately, you can see the "twist" ending coming a mile away. That being said, the film is predictable, but worth the watch if you happen to catch it on TV.

This version is very different from it's predecessor. A Tale of Two Sisters is a classic Asian horror film, but while it is beautiful and cinematic, it's also a little bit bizarre. It is a good choice for film buffs and fans of the Asian horror genre, but not for causal American viewers.

Fright Rating: 2 gasps out of a possible 5

With the PG-13 rating, there is very little gore in this film, but there are quite a few jump scares and some violence. This film will appeal to fans of other Americanized horror flicks like The Ring, The Grudge, etc.

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