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The Uninvited
DVD disk
04.28.2009 By: J.A. Hamilton
The Uninvited order
Director:
The Guard Brothers

Actors:
Emily Browning
Elizabeth Banks
Arielle Kebbel

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
Still trying to cope with the tragic death of their mother, Anna and Alex must also contend with their motherís former caretaker Rachael as she forces her way into the family. Convinced things are not as they seem, the sisters delve into Rachaelís sketchy past in hopes of uncovering the truth.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
I never thought Iíd actually say this, but today I was totally blown away by a PG-13 horror flick! It happened without warning, and truth be told Iím still a bit flabbergasted. And for this reason (and cause I donít want to ruin it for you) this review WILL sound a bit backwards, but I assure you, like every great whodunnit, itíll all make sense in the end.

It was somewhere around the one hour mark when I became convinced Iíd seen enough to accurately pass judgement. This was a story Iíve seen a hundred times, held together by string of generic (and painstakingly predictable) cliches I was literally calling out before they happened. Yet, despite my boredom with the sub par plot, a small piece of me desperately wanted to like this flick. The locale was nothing short of paradise, the visuals and cinematography were stunning (that night shot with the sisters on the rock face = breathtaking), I had zero complaints about the acting, and the tense score went hand in hand with the ďedge of your seatĒ pace. This film was action packed with cool elements, creating a wondrous atmosphere that was being roughly dragged through the mud by a ridiculously flat storyline. I was mildly frustrated.

The main characters (specifically Anna, Alex and Rachael) were my saving grace at this point. Their roles may have started out blunt and direct (the traumatized daughter, the bitchy sister and the gold digging slut), but things started to pick up as our three ladies were finally pitted against one another. The bond between the sisters felt real to me, special even. I especially LOVED their smart dialogue, teamwork and sharp detective skills. Elizabeth Banks was a convincing villainess (giving me a Cillian Murphy vibe from RED EYE), which I was totally into, making me eager as hell to see how things would play out. I wouldnít dream of giving away the ending, suffice to say that all those annoying cliches I hated so much in the beginning suddenly became deliberate (and very clever) strokes of genius. Oh how I enjoy layers.

Earlier on Iíd passed THE UNINVITED off as another RING/GRUDGE clone, mostly because the trailer was sporting cheesy gimmicks like black ooze spewing from keyholes, a ďSamaraĒ looking chick on all fours and visions of creepy dead kids. All of which, fooled me into thinking this was familiar (and unoriginal) territory. I canít remember the last time it felt so good to be wrong! The Guard Brothers deliver exactly what they set out to, a smart, clever thriller with just enough horror and shock value (like Mattís back snapping and popping underneath his skin) to keep the audience looking over their shoulders. The script was bang on, the cast knew what they were doing and nobody went overboard to make the final vision feel cheap or strained (despite the fact it was a remake of the Japanese horror flick THE TWO SISTERS). And as a result, this is the FIRST time Iíve felt so genuinely satisfied with a PG-13 horror flick.
THE EXTRAS
Unlocking the Uninvited: The Guard Brothers really are geniuses, and their love of Asian horror, intelligent writing, and an obvious understanding of sibling relationships made them a shoe in for directing this film. These guys have been added to my list of favorite directors, I canít wait to see what the do next.

Deleted Scenes: A whopping five and a half minutes of deleted scenes. No dice on the ďtime of the monthĒ joke? I canít imagine why.

Alternate Ending: Well, not to hard to see why they went with the ending they did. This one just didnít pack a hard enough punch.

Previews: Ok, STAR TREK and TRANSFORMERS I get, but VAN WILDER: FRESHMAN YEAR!? Come on guys, didnít you learn anything from RISE OF TAJ?
FINAL DIAGNOSIS
Apparently, with competent writers and a great production team, PG-13 horror movies CAN be awesome after all. Who knew? Iíll always prefer R rated horror, but THE UNINVITED was a true surprise you shouldnít miss. Not a whole lot of replay value once the smoke clears though, and with next to no extras, no one will blame you for going for the rental here.
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