Friday, May 8, 2009

The Uninvited - DVD Review

THE UNINVITED (**) - Starring Emily Browning, Elizabeth Banks, Arielle Kebbel, and David Strathairn.
Directed by The Guard Brothers.

We have a movie where we are given characters and situations, and we are asked to accept them on face value, even though it's obvious things aren't what they seem and we're going to get a twist ending. So in a 90-minute movie, if only the last 5 minutes are good, is it worth seeing?

Elizabeth Banks is far too sweet an actress to play an evil stepmother. It's somewhere on par with asking Paul Rudd to play a wife-beater. I just don't buy it.

Now I go back to the grand one-two punch of 1999 with The Sixth Sense and Fight Club, two of my favorite movies of that year. Both had twist endings. Both were entertaining throughout so that the twist endings were icing on the cake. I think that's the whole key to a great twist ending. The ride needs to work on its own merit before we get there.

Here we get Emily Browning (Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events) as Anna, a girl just let out of a mental hospital. She's traumatized after her mother died in a fire, and she goes back home to live with her sister, father, and father's brand new wife. The sister, Alex, thinks their new stepmother may have actually been behind their mother's death.

With the occasional ghost showing up, I knew that everything I was watching was going to be turned on its head at the end. Banks was obviously playing two different motivations simultaneously. When the twist came I thought it was neat, if not entirely original. So was the 85 minutes of stalling worth the final 5?

Not really.

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