The Uninvited – movie review

The Uninvited is a terrific 2009 horror/mystery movie.  If getting it on DVD, make sure you get the right movie, since there have been a number of different  films with this exact title.

We say it is a mystery/thriller, since it combines elements of both styles.  The story  revolves around 15 year old Anna (perfectly played by Emily Browning).  Anna had a mental breakdown and was committed to an institution after her invalid mother tragically died in a fire 10 months earlier. Anna has now recovered and is returning home for the first time since the accident.

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Anna receives a double shock when she gets home. The first shock is that her father (played by David Strathairn) has a girlfriend who has now moved into the house. The second shock is that the girlfriend (played by Elizabeth Banks) is the nurse who had been caring for Anna’s mother.

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Our favorite character in the movie is Anna’s older and wiser an sister Alex (played by Arielle Kebbel). She is a wonderful older sister, who confides in and looks after Anna.

Alex also has a razor sharp wit.  When describing the relationship between their father and his girlfriend, Alex says. “After Mom died, Dad needed someone to console him.  She has been consoling him three times a night.”

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The mystery part of the film comes into play when Anna and Alex decide to investigate the girlfriend’s background to see if their mother’s death was really an accident.  The horror part of the film is that Anna is capable of seeing grotesque visions of dead people, and she has to try to find out what they are trying to tell her.

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What makes this film great is the complex way in which the mystery unfolds. Some horror films have very simplistic plots and some mystery movies are not scary enough. The Uninvited combines a great complex plot of a mystery plus the chills and gore of a horror movie. The title itself is a double entendre.  The “uninvited” can be the visions of dead people, or Dad’s new girlfriend, both of which Anna and Alex would like gone from their home.

We give this movie Four Stars ****

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