Jake O’Brien writhes in anger at the appropriately named cinematic disaster that is The Uninvited.
INCREDIBLE; MOVING; original; astonishing. All words of positivity that should NOT be used in connection with ‘new’ horror release – The Uninvited. From directors Charles and Thomas Guard, comes this magnificently disappointing meander down the worn track of remade Asiatic horror films.
The plot constructs itself around Anna (Emily Browning), a young girl who is about to be released from psychiatric care, following the unfortunate demise of her mother in a gas explosion at their home.
But wait! It can’t be that simple… Anna suffers from disturbingly fractured dreams containing dead children, condoms and her mother. Couple this with the introduction to her father’s suspicious new fiancée Rachel (Elizabeth Banks) and we can almost complete this predictable portrait of stateside laziness. Enter Anna’s sister, Alex (Arielle Kebbel), the quirky, overt liberal, who is always attempting to shake up the establishment. Together, the two sisters unwind the tragic events of the night their mother died, discovering along the way that their dad’s new girl, the mother’s former nurse, may have some ulterior motives. Shocking!
This example of cinematic tripe is festooned with bullet points on how not to make movies. The characters are disastrously flawed, flailing horrendously through a script that could be dropped on any other 21st century venture into the horror genre.
Like any other film of its kind, The Uninvited brings together teenage angst and promiscuity all set against a backdrop of affluent terror. It becomes periodically lost in meta-cinematic footnotes, constantly referencing its own sense of self worth with dated; some may even say clichéd, techniques.
Here, the Guard brothers team up with Kim Ji-woon, the director of the 2003 South Korean original, A Tale of Two Sisters. However, the brothers’ reign in supreme ignorance, as they seem to have completely ignored Jiwoon, conceitedly filling this picture with pilfered material from classics such as Kubrick’s The Shining and Rob Reiner’s Misery.
Fans of Stephen King? Perhaps. Nevertheless, there are moments for admiration within The Uninvited. Both of them can be attributed to clever lighting tricks and post-production editing. Unfortunately though, they frame a pathetically confusing train wreck of an ending.
As a whole, this ridiculous Hollywood behaviour cannot and must not be tolerated. Style and originality have been replaced by mediocrity and bureaucracy. The Uninvited and its withering contemporaries are the result of a lethargic schoolboy copying test answers off the kid beside him. Only instead of this being a matter of hidden, desk to desk thievery; it is an obnoxiously blatant bank robbery across the Pacific.
When the very same producers brought us The Ring in 2002, it was homage; at this point it is nothing more than bastardised, naked profiteering, completely bereft of the artistic content that one should expect. That being said, interrogation should indeed fall on the audiences who make it possible for The Uninvited to make a domestic gross of $29 million.
So next time you’re standing in a cinema lobby, contemplating what to go and see with your tenner, ask yourself: will it be incredible, moving, original or astonishing? And if you’re thinking of giving The Uninvited a watch… don’t! Avoid at all costs!