Inviting You for a Good Scare
On DVD & Blu-ray
On DVD & Blu-ray
Watch Korea's Original
A Tale of Two Sisters
A Tale of Two Sisters
Employing a classical sensibility to their feature filmmaking debut that relied nicely on in-camera edits and a bare minimum of digital effects to match their psychologically Freudian influenced remake of the recent Korean horror film A Tale of Two Sisters-- British brothers and successful commercial directors Charles and Thomas Guard (a.k.a. The Guard Brothers)-- crafted a uniquely effective and underrated genre film. And in doing so, it's every bit the "art" movie they aspired to make in honoring the original.
The Ring starring Naomi Watts to life a few years earlier.
As the original Tale of Two Sisters took an exceptionally dark path with an even more ambiguous set-up than most of its contemporaries in the increasingly popular cult following of Asian psychological driven horror works that become ripe fodder for Hollywood remakes, the screenwriters and filmmakers decided to retain some of the elements of mystery and unresolved questions from the original but ultimately provide much more closure.
The result is a genuinely startling work that throws viewers for an ultimate loop in a stunning gasp of a twist ending that never once seems like a gimmick but instead a well-earned sleight of hand trick that still holds up when you instantly replay the events that led up to it in your mind once more.
While Freud and psychological horror such as The Omen, The Haunting, Rosemary's Baby, Carrie, The Exorcist, What Lies Beneath, Shadow of a Doubt, The Shining, The Others, The Sixth Sense, and The Hand that Rocks the Cradle are all referenced either directly in the production notes as influences or in cinematic homage throughout the feature-- the film's standard framework hits viewers on an immediate gut level with a set-up not unlike most fairy tales or Walt Disney features we were reared on as children with the classic problem of a potentially wicked and possibly even deadly evil stepmother.
Jaws or Friday the 13th, soon supernatural elements come into play as we realize that our young heroine-- Emily Browning (Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events)-- is recounting the events that led up to the horrific death of her mother in dream form to her psychiatrist.
Institutionalized following a suicide attempt-- after ten months of intensive therapy, Browning's Anna gets a chance to return home to the picturesque yet eerily solitary seaside home occupied by her literary author father (David Strathairn-- a natural in the self-involved, clumsy cerebral roles), her rebellious extroverted older sister Alex (Arielle Kebbel) and perky blonde Rachel (Elizabeth Banks). The former nurse to her bed-ridden mother-- Rachel, for whom we immediately feel little sympathy-- has wasted no time in taking on the role herself, romantically involved with Anna's decades older father with the intention of marriage in the future.
Hamlet like finger in the direction of Banks as the reason she's lying six feet under the ground, Anna and Alex embark on a none-too-careful background check of their possible step mother which leads to shocking realizations as past secrets are unleashed.
The Sixth Sense and What Lies Beneath-- manages to use an intense sense of pacing and mysterious aura to great effect in lieu of gore, yet as some critics pointed out, despite this the PG-13 rating seems a bit weak although there's nothing quite so strong as to justify an "R" (again making us realize there should be another rating between the two).
Rosemary's Baby in a driving sequence that recalls The Shining as the film is set way out in the open in a deceptively airy and idyllic yet lonely and claustrophobic location-- it's easy to play "spot the influences" during The Uninvited.
W.-- that she's more than just the silly girl-next-door in Seth Rogen movies, the real discovery again is in the performance of young Emily Browning, last seen in Lemony Snicket who intelligently spaced out her work to complete her schooling.
Hand That Rocks the Cradle, Glenn Close in Fatal Attraction, and Sharon Stone in Basic Instinct-- the results are extraordinary.
The Uninvited not only one of the biggest sleepers so far of 2009 but also a film that will possibly garner a Donnie Darko like cult following once it catches on in DVD and Blu-ray.
While the visuals crystallized in the Blu-ray are first rate with Daniel Landin's wondrously haunting and luminous cinematography, the sound balance of the transfer was way off having you lunge for the remote at times to move the volume well past fifty just to be able to hear a single line of vital dialogue in this deceptively quiet film.
Uninvited" that you'll definitely want to avoid until after you've seen the film since it's riddled with spoilers.
For-- as we're quick to realize since we end up on the exact same page early on-- if for any reason one is slow to catch on, rest assured you can always get there in an instant watching any of Disney's wicked step-mother movies that put you in precisely the right frame of mind.