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The Uninvited (DVD)
Member Name: caseybrady1992
The Uninvited (DVD)
Advantages: Solid leading role; well directed
Disadvantages: Clichés are omnipresent
Anna (Emily Browning) has spent ten months in an asylum following a suicide attempt after struggling to accept the death of her terminal mother in a fire. Upon being discharged, she returns home to be reunited with her sister Alex (Arielle Kebel), father Steven (David Strathairn) and, much to her dismay, her father's girlfriend Rachel (Elizabeth Banks), who was previously her mother's carer. Both Anna and Alex suspect that Rachel was involved in the fire that killed their mother, and go about trying to prove it. Due to Anna's mental state, however, her suspicions of Rachel are played down by her father; it's an understandable stance to take for a young girl who has lost her mother, to see the new girlfriend as a 'replacement'. Anna stands by her beliefs however, and with the support of Alex, continues to investigate. In the meantime, however, nightmares of her departed mother torment her.
Anna is the protagonist of this film, despite the closeness between her and Alex. It is Anna who has responded most severely to her mother's death, and it is primarily her anguish we share. So, the film is basically shot through her perspective, which allows the viewer to relate to her, and this ultimately strengthens the horrific moments, and also the agonising emotions Anna feels. Her young age also calls for some callow takes on reality, so certain scenes that are apparently drearily directed are in fact purposeful - thus, actually quite sharply done! Browning is very good in the role, executing the dramatic moments to a satisfactory level and leading the film well. She's also gorgeous, which does help with the liking to her character (as immoral as that is!), and importantly, the sympathy we feel towards her. As a young teenager, she is frail and frightened, and the frustration she feels as her thoughts towards Rachel fall on deaf ears is conveyed successfully. She leads the role well, but I wouldn't say that it is a stellar performance. Alex and Rachel are secondary characters in The Uninvited as the ally and the villain respectively, and Banks is good in particular.
On the horror front, I would say that the film is haunting but tame. There are some horrific scenes, but the true scary element is not achieved. The scenes are suspenseful as Anna closes in on the truth, and her nightmares are somewhat chilling. The film was disappointing to some purely because it wasn't scary enough, which is understandable for those expecting a bold, terrifying movie, with decaying horror clichés marring that possibility, and certain scenes just not quite accomplishing the apparent desired effect. But there is tension throughout, and the sympathy we feel towards Anna strengthens what horror is present. Cinematography again is somewhat tainted by typical horror scenes, with pathetic fallacy inevitably playing a part. The score by Christopher Young is solid, effective and appropriate, but doesn't break any boundaries, and isn't quite as enjoyable as Zimmer's "The Ring" OST or Beltrami and Sanders' more recent "Don't Be Afraid of the Dark" OST. The overall effect of the film is gloomy and ominous, and this compliments the story well. The true horror is in the circumstances Anna has had to face, and there is tragedy in this young girl's isolation, which Browning's persona and performance enhances. The film isn't exactly pioneering, but it is interesting, haunting and entertaining. Don't expect to be scared out of your wits, but there is a lasting effect to be had from this movie, and overall it is pretty good.
Summary: An effective and haunting movie.