A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this moody supernatural horror movie is very gory and violent, with everything from mutilated corpses and lots of flowing blood to contorted human bodies speaking and moving. The story revolves around a widowed father whose daughters object to his relationship with the woman who nursed their dying mother; the film doesn't explore this at great length, but it provides a sexual subplot that runs through the film. The main character has been institutionalized after a breakdown; the movie also includes teen drinking, strong language (including "f--k" and "s--t") and references to sex.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
After a brief sanitarium stay following a breakdown and suicide attempt in the wake of her terminally ill mother's death in an explosion, Anna (Emily Browning) is going home. Glad as she is to see her father (David Strathairn) and sister (Arielle Kebbel), Anna is less happy to see her father's girlfriend, Rachel (Elizabeth Banks), who -- not coincidentally -- used to be her mother's nurse. Haunted by visions, Anna begins to realize that perhaps Rachel had something to do with her mother's death.
Is it any good?
Another in a long line of Asian horror films remade for American audiences, THE UNINVITED has all the hallmarks and drawbacks of peers like The Grudge and Pulse. There are familiar scary visions, a reliance on atmosphere over plot, and a contempt for the audience -- manifested by emphasizing violence and chills over plot and character, as if enough blood and gore will distract us from the shabby plot moments and the characters' shallowness.
Worst of all, The Uninvited builds to a climactic twist that feels more annoying than exciting and more shallow than suspenseful. The filmmakers want you to examine all the ways that the twist rewrites what you've seen before, but that aim would be a lot easier to accomplish if they'd actually given you a reason to care about all of that stuff. The Uninvited whould perhaps have been more honestly titled The Uninspired.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the central plot point -- what challenges do families face after the death of a parent? How does this movie exaggerate some of those real-life issues? Do you think it's trying to send a particular message?
Why ar Asian horror films so popular as material for Hollywood remakes. How does their typical style of violence differ from other kinds of horror movies?
- In theaters: January 30, 2009
- On DVD or streaming: April 28, 2009
- Cast: Arielle Kebbel, David Strathairn, Elizabeth Banks
- Director: Thomas Guard
- Studio: Paramount Pictures
- Genre: Horror
- Run time: 87 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG-13
- MPAA explanation: violent and disturbing images, thematic material, sexual content, language and teen drinking