This is a review of the 2009 movie The Uninvited starring David Strathairn, Elizabeth Banks, Arielle Kebbel, and Emily Browning
Plot Summary: Anna returns home to her sister (and best friend) Alex after a stint in a mental hospital, though her recovery is jeopardized thanks to her cruel stepmother, aloof father, and the presence of a ghost in their home.
Me: The Uninvited is a remake of a South Korean film entitled Janghwa, Hongryeon.
The Honeybee: Which means “The Hungry Killer” in Korean.
Me: No. It means “A Tale of Two Sisters.”
The Honeybee: I didn’t know you spoke Korean.
Me: I don’t.
The Honeybee: So how do you know that “Jangle Hungry One” means “A Tale of Two Sisters?”
Me: I read it somewhere so I’m taking it on faith.
The Honeybee: I see. You’ve made an assumption – therefore I could still be right.
Me: If you say so.
The Honeybee: At least this movie was scarier than The Last House on the Left, don’t you think?
The Honeybee: Heh. That figures. So give us your story overview.
Me: Anna (Emily Browning) attempts suicide after her bed-ridden mom is killed in a tragic house fire. Unable to cope with mommy’s death, she is then placed in a psycho ward only to return home to the custody of her dad (David Strathairn) after many months of counseling.
The Honeybee: Yeah, but when Anna gets home she quickly realizes that there is a big problem.
Me: That’s because her dad is living-in-sin with mom’s former nurse, Rachael (Elizabeth Banks) — if you know what I mean.
The Honeybee: We all know what you mean. Anna’s anger builds as she is continually reminded of her new live-in step-mom-to-be. Wanna tell them how?
Me: Sure. First off, Dad was remiss in not soundproofing the thin bedroom walls before his daughter came home. That little oversight enabled Anna to hear Daddy and Rachael’s nightly and very spirited, um, love affirmations. Then if that wasn’t bad enough, the bitter ghost of Anna’s mom continually nagged her daughter about the evil hussy nurse that was monopolizing all of Dad’s attention.
The Honeybee: Anna’s barbequed mom was a nag — but she just wanted to warn her daughter that Rachael was a murdering psycho, like any caring mom from the afterlife should. By the way, I thought Banks did a good job as Rachael. Where have we seen her before?
Me: We last saw Banks, who I think is a better-than-average actress, last year in Zack and Miri Make a Porno.
The Honeybee: That’s right! Anyway, getting back to this movie, I thought she did a great job in a role that was kind of similar to the one Rebecca DeMornay had in The Hand That Rocks the Cradle.
Me: Good point, Honeybee. And I agree, I thought Banks did a great job – she was by far the best actor in this film. Unfortunately, I thought this movie suffered from two very critical flaws — the biggest being that the film was not scary at all, which can be just a bit problematic if the film you are watching happens to market itself as a thriller.
The Honeybee: Well, I think you are being more than a bit harsh, Len.
Me: Oh yeah? Well, let’s review what directors Charles and Thomas Guard throw at us in order to scare the bejeebies out of us. I’ll give some examples and you tell me if any of these scenes had you hiding under your blanket.
The Honeybee: Go.
Me: Blood pouring from a door keyhole?
The Honeybee: You’re right, that wasn’t scary.
Me: A trash bag with moving eviscerated body parts?
The Honeybee: I thought that scene was pretty scary. It made me jump.
Me: Oh brother. How about a ghostly invalid in a bed with a jingling bell?
The Honeybee: I thought she was kind of scary.
Me: ”Kind of scary,” huh? That’s not a ringing endorsement.
The Honeybee: Very funny.
Me: Thank you. How about a smokin’ hot nurse who may or may not be a murderous psychopath?
The Honeybee: No.
Me: Spilled milk that turns into blood?
The Honeybee: Okay, okay, I get it. I’ll give you that The Uninvited wasn’t very scary, but I thought it was a very good suspense movie with a surprising twist at the end.
Me: Oh, please. To me, that was the second major flaw in the film. I thought the “surprising twist” was completely forced and uncalled for. I won’t say much more because I would give the ending away, but looking backward, I fail to see how the twist managed to perfectly line up with the rest of the movie. The Sixth Sense, this movie was not.
The Honeybee: Whatever you say, Yoda. I liked it and I’m rating The Uninvited a “buy.”
Me: I think this movie is a waste of time. I say “sell.” In fact, it’s pretty obvious to me that when it comes to The Uninvited, thrills, creative direction and a gripping screenplay were clearly left off this flick’s invite list.
The Honeybee: Oh yeah? Well, remind me to uninvite you the next time we’re supposed to watch a movie.
Me: Why couldn’t you have just uninvited me before I saw this flick?
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