The Uninvited

Release Date: January 30, 2009

Movie of the Day for Monday, September 8, 2008
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We’ve all had unwanted guests now and then. We might have even been that entity once or twice. The Uninvited bases its film on that principle. It’s not like when the big, black prostitute showed up to meet Borat at an elegant dinner in Sacha Baron Cohen’s boundary-pushing comedy two years ago. Instead, this is yet another offering in a long line of movies where Hollywood is ripping off Asian cinema for its horror stories. This one remakes the 2003 Korean film titled A Tale of Two Sisters. Hollywood later decided to do away with creativity and just yank the entire name with the concept. Elizabeth Banks, of 40-Year Old Virgin fame, stars as an evil stepmother to a pair of teen girls, one of which has just returned home from doing time at a mental institution. The uninvited guest in this case is a ghost who haunts the joint, presumably making them all insane in the membrane in the process.

Tinseltown has been pilfering Asian cinema more and more for these sorts of properties in recent years. It seems that several of Hollywood’s starlets are happy to squeal and scream their way towards dollars. After 2002’s Gore Verbinski-helmed The Ring successfully rang up $128 million domestically with Naomi Watts as the lead, we have seen several remakes imported to try to repeat said formula to mixed results. 2004’s The Grudge with Sarah Michelle Gellar held on the best with $110 million, but 2005’s Dark Water starring Jennifer Connelly dried up with just $25 million, and this year’s The Eye with Jessica Alba saw only $31 million domestically.

Hollywood’s run at these titles is still not done yet. Here we have Banks, who is slowly attempting to become a household name. She is expertly balancing roles in TV shows like Scrubs with recurring stints in large films, like her Betty Brant character in all three Spider-Man movies. Untested as she is, though, The Uninvited added indie film vet David Strathairn to play the stepfather in a casting move reminiscent of Bryan Cox’s role in The Ring. Will that move help usher this film to similar box office results? To find out, you’re welcome to get spooked in theaters early next year. (Brandon Scott/BOP)

Vital statistics for The Uninvited
Main Cast Elizabeth Banks, David Strathairn, Arielle Kebbel
Supporting Cast Emily Browning
Director Thomas Guard, Charles Guard
Screenwriter Carlo Bernard, Doug Miro
Distributor DreamWorks Pictures
Screen Count 2,344
Talent in red has entry in The Big Picture



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