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THE UNINVITED, 2009
Movie Review

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THE UNINVITED
Movie Review
Directed by Charles and Thomas Guard
Starring: Emily Browning, Arielle Kebbel, David Strathairn
Review by Matthew Toffolo



SYNOPSIS:

Anna Rydell 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.

REVIEW:

Everytime I see a movie I don't want to know anything about it so when I go in I witness the way it's suppose to be played - with virgin eyes and without any expectations that we see in the trailer or who is starring in it. Of course in this day and age that is almost impossible, especially if it's a studio film. They just do too good a job marketing their films.

But every once in a while I get to see a movie where I know nothing. Not the plot, who stars in it, nothing. The Uninvited is one of those movies.

So assuming if you're reading that you do want to know something about this movie (which is why you're reading this review), all I can say is that there is a twist ending so be extra careful when observing all of the relationships in this film. I guess the ending of The Univited is a ala M. Night! Someone isn't who they appear to be and the obvious is never the obvious.

I do admit that I didn't see it coming at all. They threw me and I was shocked when it happened. Of course in hindsight it's obvious, but that's the point.

The Sixth Sense is the greatest twist movie ever and every movie from now on will be compared to it. M. Night himself has actually had a sub-par career since that film because all of his ascending films with a twist weren't nearly as good as his first. So his own film is the reason why his future films failed commercially and with most audiences.

I caught the twist in The Others and in The Prestige, but had no idea in The Usual Suspects, Primal Fear and Arlington Road. Of course it does matter if you know there is a twist happening before you watch the film. Perhaps I would of saw the twist in The Uninvited if I was actually looking for it.

What makes a twist film a success is the repeat viewing. You watch the film and are completely shocked by the twist and must watch it again. That's how The Sixth Sense became a monster hit. People just had to watch it again to see if there were any holes in the plot and how you didn't see it the first time.

The Uninvited is probably a forgettable film though. The stakes just weren't high enough. What made The Sixth Sense such a powerful film was that the two leads had unconditional love for someone else (The doctor with his wife. The kid with this mother) and their 'prediciments' caused heart brake with those people.

There is a key relationship missing in this film and that's the one with the lead (Anna) and her father. There needed to be a tight bond established between the two of them so the stakes at the end are even higher. But they didn't give us any of that. And I am wondering why they didn't.

So in the end we do care for our lead and what will happen to her, but there isn't something else she is attached to that's as strong as it needs to be so the twist really is a twist in our emotional insides.

Yes, she has her sister, but that's not the real key relationship. The apparent antagonist is the care taker turned girlfriend of the dad (played by Elizabeth Banks, who seems to be in everything these days). She is the one who gets in the way, so the person she is closest to (the dad) needs to be the person closest to the lead. It's a classic triangle conflict and it works because there is that something that's in the way of a father/daughter love OR something that's in the way of a girlfriend/boyfriend love! And that's what we need to figure out.

So in the end, we don't care enough and therefore the twist is cool to witness but not enough for a repeat viewing.

I do like the actress who plays the lead, Emily Browning, a lot. I first saw her in Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events, playing the lead girl and was blown away at her ability to play the sunshine in a dark world. Just like she does in this film. She has one of the most interesting faces I've seen in awhile and I'm looking forward to see her future body of work.

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