The Story: Anna (Emily Browning) is returning home after spending some time in a mental institution after the death of her mother in a fire. Upon returning home it seems her father has married the mother’s sick nurse (Elizabeth Banks). As Anna tries to acclimate to life with a new mother she becomes increasingly suspicious of the woman and with the help of her sister Alex (Arielle Kebbel), the two sisters put their lives on the line to find out about their possibly evil stepmother.
Pros: I thought The Uninvited was a strong horror movie when it came out to theaters and after seeing it this second time on DVD it still holds up. If you’ve seen the movie once it’s a better watch the second time to find out how the twist is integrated into the main plot and if you can spot out the clues. The final reveal at the very end is still entertaining and is one of the better twist endings I’ve seen of late. The main reveal is easily figured out within the first 20 minutes (if you’ve seen any recent horror film you’ll spot it) but it doesn’t matter because the plot is still tight and riveting. Not just content to be a horror film, there aren’t that many scares to be honest; the plot can fall into dramatic territory, dealing with the themes of losing a parent and remarriage in the family. The Uninvited could have been awful if not for the strong female-centric cast. Young Emily Browning has come a long way since A Serious of Unfortunate Events and she’s elegant and smart as Anna. She never falls into whimpering mode and doesn’t come off as annoying or trying to act above her age. A beautiful leading lady in the making, Browning is one to watch. Elizabeth Banks may be the most overexposed actress of the year but her turn in this movie is a fun one. It’s difficult immediately seeing Banks as an evil stepmother but you can tell she’s having a great time, totally immersing herself in the downcast glances yet always having a smile on her face. Arielle Kebbel also steals quite a few scenes as the sassy Alex. Kebbel gets a lot of the humorous one-liners and is a great foil to Banks’ character.
Cons: Flat out this movie is not scary. There are maybe three blatant jump scares and that’s it. If the story wasn’t strong this movie would fail horribly as a horror film. There were many areas where horror could have been used but nothing remotely scary happens. The big twist involving one of the characters is obvious within the first 20 minutes if you’ve watched anything recent in this genre. I was a bit irritated that it was so blatant and that I figured it out so quickly. The very end twist is more clever but the big “secret” is so in-your-face.
Features: The Blu-Ray and standard DVD’s have the same features so it’s up to you which route to take. There is a behind the scenes featurette which has the standard interviews with cast and crew. This is great to watch if you love the female leads as they truly seem interested in the movie and speak with such conviction. The deleted scenes and alternate ending are pretty boring and the alternate ending is not as good as the original.
Overall: The Uninvited is a strong, yet subtle thriller that may not rely on scares but makes up for it in storytelling. The female leads are fantastic and have excellent chemistry, making the movie a notch above what it could have been. The movie itself gets a 3.5/5 and the DVD gets a 3/5.