** (out of 5)
January 30, 2009
Emily Browning as ANNA
Elizabeth Banks as RACHEL
Arielle Kebbel as ALEX
David Strathairn as STEVEN
John Prowse as BUTCHER
Directed by: The Guard Brothers
BY KEVIN CARR
I’m not exactly sure why Hollywood insists on releasing all of their horror movies in January rather than the traditional scary movie month of October. Last year, only two horror movies were released in Halloween season – “Quarantine” and “Saw V.” This January, there has been a horror movie released for each weekend.
Of course, I think something has to do with the fact that, as horror movies go, “Quarantine” and “Saw V” were pretty good. The same can’t be said universally for the horror flicks of January.
In this respect, “The Uninvited” has more in common with David S. Goyer’s stinker “The Unborn” that we saw several weeks ago. If only it had been shot in 3D, the way “My Bloody Valentine” had been, then we might have had a gimmick to enjoy with the film.
“The Uninvited” tells the story of a girl named Anna (Emily Browning). She is recently released from a mental institution after suffering a breakdown from watching her ailing mother die in tragic explosion. When Anna returns home, she finds that Rachel (Elizabeth Banks), her mother’s nurse, has started a relationship with her father (David Strathairn). Soon, thanks to some mysterious visions of creepy children, Anna and her sister Alex (Arielle Kebbel) suspect that Rachel is trying to get rid of them so she can have the dad all to herself.
“The Uninvited” is another installment in the long series of Asian horror remakes that have jumped across the Pacific pond over the last decade. Thing started out well with “The Ring” and “The Grudge,” but recently there have been some fumbles like “One Missed Call” and the sequels to “The Ring” and “The Grudge” (which also happened to star Kebbel).
Even when the remakes have been decent as of late (e.g., “The Eye” and “The Messengers”), they haven’t been anything to write home about. I suppose that as long as they continue to bring in a certain amount of cash and don’t cost too much to make, we’ll be seeing more of them released in the future.
Like “The Unborn,” “The Uninvited” isn’t void of scares. There are some intense moments, several scenes that will make you jump and a nice feeling of dread that follows through the film. And on a positive note, there’s elements of this movie that at least deviate from the standard slag of torture porn and zombie flicks that are so easily made in the genre.
However, when “The Uninvited” deviates from its own genre path, it’s still borrowing form other films. The directors, brothers Charles and Thomas Guard, channel M. Night Shyamalan in many points of the story, but they don’t have the command of filmmaking that Shyamalan does.
Finally, the film stars Elizabeth Banks, who has seen quite a few roles come her way over the past couple years. However, she’s not anything great in this film. I’d rather see her make a porno with Seth Rogan or even become the first lady with Josh Brolin in the lead.
Elizabeth Banks is a pretty face, but she’s not a great actor. And she proves this in “The Uninvited,” being a very weak and unscary antagonist to a frightened little girl.