The Uninvited (2009) [Blu-ray]

Genre(s): Horror / Thriller
DreamWorks || PG13 - 89 minutes - $39.99 || April 28, 2009
Reviewer: Brian Oliver || Posted On: 2009-05-02


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.:: F I L M ::.
The Film

S P E C I A L
.: F E A T U R E S :.

Special Features

.:: V I D E O ::.
Video

.:: A U D I O ::.
Audio

B L U - R A Y
.:: EXCLUSIVES ::.

Blu-ray Exclusives

.:: O V E R A L L ::.
Overall
.::MOVIE INFORMATION::.
Director: Charles Guard, Thomas Guard
Writer(s): Ji-woon Kim (motion picture "Changhwa, Hongryon"), Craig Rosenberg and Doug Miro & Carlo Bernard (screenplay)
Cast: Emily Browning, Arielle Kebbel, David Strathairn, Elizabeth Banks


Theatrical Release Date: January 30, 2009


.::DVD INFORMATION::.
Supplemental Material:
  • Deleted Scenes
  • Alternate Ending
  • Featurette


Technical Information:
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Widescreen (1.78)
  • English (Dolby TrueHD 5.1), French (Dolby Digital 5.1), Spanish (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish, Portuguese

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.::THE FILM::.

Note: This review may contain some spoilers. Reader beware.

The Uninvited at first looks like a rehash of so many other PG-13 horror-thrillers that have come and gone over the years. In fact, the ending reminded me of a certain Oscar-winning film (I won’t divulge what it is or even what year so not to ruin it for others). And for the most part, the film is entertaining, even with a climax that while admittedly surprising, was equally eye-rolling as well.

The story surrounds Anna (Emily Browning), a teenage girl who was released from a mental hospital a year after her mother perished in a fire. Her father, Steven (David Strathairn), drives her home to their lavish estate by the bay where her mom’s former caretaker, Rachel (Elizabeth Banks) awaits. It seems that Steven and Rachel have taken a liking of one another and Rachel has moved in. Of course, Anna does not like this one bit, ditto for her older sister, Alex (Arielle Kebbel) and soon enough they begin to believe that Rachel may not be who she seems to be and in fact may have killed their mother!

Admittedly, The Uninvited isn’t a very scary teen horror flick, though easily better than some PG-13 “horror-thrillers” and somehow it exceeded my low expectations. The film is based upon a Korean film called The Tale of Two Sisters and having never seen this version (though I probably will at some point); I am only critiquing on its own level rather than comparing it.

Emily Browning actually doesn’t do too bad a job as the main character, one who is basically in every scene. For an actress who has few projects on her resume (her last film was in 2005), she does a fantastic job in a role that is actually more complex than what one would expect. Also effective is the beautiful Elizabeth Banks playing the wicked step-mother-to-be. Banks is both beautiful but absolutely menacing in what could have been a clichéd part.

The Uninvited also stars David Strathairn in a small role where the writers’ send him off so Amy and Alex can have some frightening alone time with Rachel; and Arielle Kebbel as the sister who shares a bond with Emily. The film was directed by The Guard Brothers with the screenplay by Craig Rosenberg (After the Sunset), Doug Miro & Carlo Bernard (The Great Raid).

The ending is both surprising and at the same time a little ridiculous, but I still accepted and on a certain elemental level, enjoyed it. Even though the film isn’t all that scary, other than a couple jump moments aimed at teens, it still managed to keep me entertained even if some moments made little sense (there were more than a few moments that were more than a stretch in terms of the plot).



.::SPECIAL FEATURES::.

The Blu-ray doesn’t have a whole lot in terms of features except for the Unlocking the Uninvited (HD; 19:00) featurette, four basic deleted scenes (HD; 5:37) and a not-so-shocking alternate ending (HD; 0:50). It’s a shame a commentary wasn’t provided with the stars as I think it would’ve been at least interesting.



.::AUDIO & VIDEO::.

The Uninvited is presented with a 1.78 aspect ratio (according to IMDb, the original ratio was 1.85, but my TV showed no bars) and on a single 50GB Blu-ray disc with an MPEG-4 video codec. The movie is dark, dark, a little lighter and then dark again. This high-definition transfer isn’t anything spectacular but thankfully black levels were great plus I noticed no flaws like pixilation or an abundant amount of noise and skin tones and surrounding textures also looked spot-on. This 1080p HD film isn’t going to wow you or anything, but it looks good.

Also equally unspectacular but perfectly acceptable, the Dolby TrueHD 5.1 track is good. However, I noticed some dialogue was a tad muffled coming through the center channel but Christopher Young’s effective score is what impresses on the track with a haunting melody that envelops the room quite nicely. The BD also has Dolby Digital 5.1 tracks in French and Spanish.



.::OVERALL::.

The Uninvited isn’t a particularly a great movie by any stretch but it did manages to exceed my own low expectations given it was advertised as yet another PG-13 teen horror movie. Also, some may not like the ending but for me it was surprising enough, even if the groundwork to get to that point was a bit lazy.

As for the Blu-ray, the audio and picture quality are both decent but nothing that great compared to other high-def transfers and the special features are very limited with one a few deleted scenes, a lame alternate ending and a standard behind-the-scenes featurette.