The Uninvited

Dir: The Guard Brothers
Star: Emily Browning, Arielle Kebbel, Elizabeth Banks, David Strathairn

Another remake of a Far East horror movie, this one fares somewhat better than others, perhaps because I haven't seen the original, A Tale of Two Sisters, on which this was based. Anna (Browning) returns home from a mental institution where she's been convalescing after a devastating fire that killed her invalid mother, and of which Anna now has no memory. There, she is reunited with her sister Alex (Kebbel) and Dad (Starthairn), but is less happy with her father's new girlfriend, Rachel (Banks), the former nurse who certainly wasted no time moving in after Mom's demise. As if that weren't bad enough, the siblings begin to suspect that Rachel is not who she says, and may have had a hand in the fire, though their father is unreceptive to these beliefs. The mysterious death of a local boy who claimed to have seen what happened, deepens these doubts, and when they find evidence suggesting Rachel was previously responsible for killing three children while working as a nanny for another family, the time for action has arrived.

I will admit, we didn't see the twist at the end coming - not having seen the original was definitely a help there - and we were impressed with it. The film would likely require a second viewing, to see if it makes sense in terms of what had gone before, but that doesn't seem likely in TC Towers. There is really only so much whiny teenage angst I can handle: my lifetime capacity was largely exhausted through the real thing, leaving me short of patience for the cinematic variety, which this has in spades. Indeed, between the bratty sisters, Rachel (who had Chris pursing her lips most of the movie], and the father who barely counts as a character, there's not anyone those of us over the age of 19 can relate to - the PG-13 rating also suggests it has been toned down for a teen audience. The direction isn't bad, given it was their feature debut, and the film is nicely-paced, never feeling like it drags. However, I can't say I'm left with any interest in seeing the original: whether that's a fault of the material or the adaptation is debatable.

[February 2010]

Sisters... Such devoted sisters
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