A late entry into the "foreign horror remake" craze (see "The Ring" and "The Grudge"), "The Uninvited" is a remake of the Korean horror film, "A Tale of Two Sisters". Directed by the relatively inexperienced Guard Brothers, the picture opens with Anna (Emily Browning) talking to her doctor at a psychiatric care facility. While she remains troubled over the loss of her mother, she has finally reached the point where she can be excused from the facility to go live with her father (David Strathairn).
However, she gets a surprise when she returns home and finds that her father has started a relationship with Rachael (Elizabeth Banks - while I haven't really liked what the actress has done recently, she does a nice job turning her usual sunny charm slightly sour here), the nurse who was caring for her mother. Older sister Alex (the somewhat underrated Arielle Kebbel) is saddened by what happened to her sister, but also dismayed by what her household has turned into.
Neither sister trusts Rachael, who has a unusually sunny exterior, and tries rather hard to convince the girls befriend her and let the past be the past. There's a problem, however: Anna begins to have horrifying visions, including a warning about what was behind what happened to her mother. Anna and Alex decide to get into Rachael's past to find out what her story really is.
The twist ending is a bit too standard (although the final moments are certainly spooky), but the rest of the movie works and works surprisingly well at times. Subtle and atmospheric, the film has an undercurrent of dread running through even the quietest of moments. Zippy at 87 minutes and enjoyably stylish, the movie actually manages to weave in some effective moments of drama into the frame of a horror picture. There are one or two too many "jump" moments on the horror side, but the picture is generally successful at crafting good scares.
The performances are very good, although Kebbel and Browning are particularly good as sisters and Banks does a nice job turning her usual performance a bit sinister. The last quarter of "The Uninvited" has a few moments where it begins to run off the rails a tad, but the majority of the film is an effective and entertaining mix of horror and drama.
VIDEO: "The Uninvited" is presented by Dreamworks Home Entertainment in 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen. Sharpness and detail are first-rate, with the image appearing consistently well-defined and crisp - even the many low-lit moments. As for problems, some minor edge enhancement appear, but no pixelation or print flaws are seen. While warmer, bolder colors are seen at times, the film's color palette is often a bit on the subdued side. Colors appeared accurately presented, with fine saturation and no smearing or other faults. Flesh tones looked natural and accurate, while black level remained solid.
SOUND: "The Uninvited" is presented in Dolby Digital 5.1. The sound mix does deliver some spooky moments, as the rear speakers are used nicely at times for some effective environmental sounds and sound effects. Christopher Young's score gets a nice, full spread across the front soundstage and comes across sounding rich and crisp, with a strong presence. Audio quality was more than satisfactory, as effects, music and dialogue sounded clean and well-recorded.
EXTRAS: "Unlocking the Uninvited" is an 18-minute documentary that does offer a lot of good production tidbits (visual style, casting, adapting the film), but I certainly wouldn't recommend watching it before the film, as there are an awful lot of spoilers. 4 deleted scenes, a (somewhat similar) alternate ending and previews for other titles ("Transformers 2: Revenge of the Fallen", "Star Trek") from the studio are also included.
Final Thoughts:The last quarter of "The Uninvited" has a few moments where it begins to run off the rails a tad, but the majority of the film is an effective and entertaining mix of horror and drama. The DVD offers little in the way of supplements, but solid audio/video quality.
The Film B