Directed by Charles Guard, Thomas Guard
Starring Emily Browning, Arielle Kebbel, Elizabeth Banks, David Strathairn
Asian horror films had a really brief amount of time where literally every film you watched was cool in some way. That time was really short though. Soon Asian horror films became so watered down and formulaic that those films are just as terrible as most of the PG rated horror films that hit theaters here in the States. Well, if you pay attention you’ll start to notice that most of the subpar PG films hitting theaters here in the States are actually remakes of Asian horror films. The Uninvited is one such remake. The original film, A Tale of Two Sisters, is actually a fantastically creepy and effective. So the question remains: since the source material is good how is the remake?
Anna is a young girl returning home from a mental institution to her family. Anna was placed in the institution after the harrowing death of her mother. At home she discovers that her mother’s nurse has moved in to her family home and started a relationship with her father. Anna’s sister Alex is obviously unhappy about her father’s new relationship and takes every opportunity to show it. Despite that Rachel, played by Elizabeth Banks, attempts to get along. Things change when Anna sees her mother’s ghost. The ghost points at Rachel and yells murder! Anna and Alex begin investigating her mother’s death and Rachel’s possible involvement only to make some unsettling discoveries.
The thing I was most interested to see in this film was Rachel Banks stepping out of the sweet girl next door image she has with Slither and even a little in Zack and Miri Make a Porno. This character definitely isn’t that, but she isn’t that exciting here either. She’s good in the role but she’s not any better or more interesting here than in anything else she’s done. She has great charisma and she’s shown that she has acting chops so I have to believe that the director’s just never got how to properly use her in this film. Emily Browning is the standout in the film as Anna. She owns this role and puts as much as she can into it to make the stereotypical type character interesting.
Overall the twists and turns toward the end of this film are what make it worth a look. The Uninvited is only a shadow of A Tale of Two Sisters but it’s substantially better than other Asian horror film remakes such as Shutter and Pulse. The original film featured some really disturbing themes that this remake chooses not to approach and that’s a real shame. The other problem is the overuse of CGI. Is it really cheaper to do an effect in CGI than practically? Sure with CGI bodies can be made to bend in unnatural shapes but having a real person or real effect is still much more organic especially when the budget is low and the filmmakers can’t afford to get ILM to get behind the effects in a big way. With that said there is one effect that is extremely creepy in this film.
The film is rated PG and it’s a remake of a superior Korean film. Both of these facts are strikes against the film. Knowing that you’ll be surprised at just how watchable The Uninvited is. That may sound like a backhanded compliment and it probably is but them’s the facts. It’s not a bad little movie as long as you don’t watch A Tale of Two Sisters. If you watch the original film though you’ll want to burn every copy of this remake.
The 1080p 1.85:1 presentation is crisp and highly detailed. Colors look fantastic and darker scenes feature very limited grain. The biggest problem with the video is that it’s so clean that the digital effects look even more CG than they probably did on grainier film. The film is of a lower budget so don’t expect some sweeping gorgeous images here that truly take advantage of the high definition format but what is here looks top notch.
The audio is presented in Dolby TrueHD 5.1. The film is fairly front loaded for a horror flick but there are several scenes that fill the soundstage with audio. Balancing is a bit off as I found myself turning the volume up a few times to hear some quieter dialogue only to be blown away by the next scene. The audio is distortion free and dialogue, score, and sound effects are well mixed too.
The Packaging and Bonus Features
The single disc release comes packaged in a standard slim amaray blu-ray case with artwork taken from some of the original poster designs. The art is a little muddy and honestly uninteresting. The art used for the original film is much more striking.
There weren’t a lot of bonus features here and nothing exclusive to the blu-ray release.”Unlocking the Uninvited” is basically a making of featurette. It includes some behind the scenes footage and the typical sound bite friendly cast and crew interviews. The featurette does have some meat though. There are some interesting bits about how the film came together from discovering the original film to casting the remake. At first glance you won’t expect much from the featurette but it offers more than you think. Other than that there are some deleted scenes and an alternate ending.
These bonus features don’t really enhance the viewing of the film much which is what you really hope a good set of bonus features will do. If you enjoy the film there is a bit of good information in the featurette though.
The Uninvited isn’t innovative in any way. At the same time it stands above most other Asian horror remakes that were thrown into theaters over the last several years,
Overall (Not an Average) 6/10
The Movie 6/10
The Video 8/10
The Audio 8/10
The Packaging and Bonus Features 5/10
Overall (Not an Average) 6/10