Saturday, December 24, 2016

The Uninvited (2009) - 7 stars out of 10

The Uninvited (2009) - 7 stars out of 10

“The Uninvited” is another Americanized import of a Japanese horror film.  Its release came with a high expectation as it was produced by Walter Parkes and Laurie MacDonald, the same team that created a horror renaissance with “The Ring;” however, this film is mainly a thriller with a few horrific images and an amazing twist.  There are a few jump scares but the expectation of being scared and shocked as if we were watching an amplified version of “The Ring” likely led to the film’s negative reception.  Its seaside setting in Maine is excellent with an inviting-yet-threatening house where the majority of the film takes place.  Emily Browning is perfectly cast in the lead role with an innocent look that comes off as creepy in the film’s circumstances.  Elizabeth Banks is also successful in the film as we struggle to figure out whether she is fake or sincere; in fact, you will find that just about every line that she delivers can be interpreted in multiple ways so that you never know how she actually feels.  While I would categorize these attributes as “above average,” the thing that makes this film a success is its well-crafted twist.  The twist works because the writers set it up from the beginning so that it feels completely organic once it occurs.  A great twist is only effective if it makes sense once you see the big picture and this film makes sure that the partial hints are dropped and then explained after the big reveal.  After this well-executed shocker, our revelation during the final image of the film is the icing on the cake.  Although it is less creative and creepy than "The Ring,” it is still a solid film.  You just may not think so until the twist assures us that it is not one long stereotype.  I believe that the film would have been better received under its original title, "A Tale of Two Sisters," since the double meaning of "The Uninvited" gets lost in the mix.  You won’t find “The Uninvited” on most peoples’ recommendation lists for horror films but as a spooky thriller, it is a must-see for its perfectly executed twist.

[Pictured: “The Uninvited” was marketed mainly as a horror film, so don’t be disappointed when you realize that it is a thriller.  It is still completely worth seeing!]

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