The Uninvited (2008)

JANUARY 12, 2011

GENRE: PSYCHOLOGICAL
SOURCE: DVD (ONLINE RENTAL)

The other day I wrote an article for Badass Digest about the five horror movie plots I was sick of seeing, but if I had written it after today I would have replaced one with “Woman Confined To Her House Deals With Shit” (Repulsion, Solitary, 100 Feet, etc). I like them OK enough, but I realized about halfway through The Uninvited that I just don’t care to see one ever again, either.

On that note, I don’t want to see another movie called The Uninvited for a while, either. This is I think the 3rd or 4th for HMAD alone!

Of course, maybe I’d feel different if the movie was any good – “Yes, more women confined to their home movies!” But alas, after a promising (but slow) opening, the movie just flies way off the rails, getting worse and worse (and more confusing), as if the writer was suddenly paralyzed with fear that he might never make another horror movie and had to toss in as many tropes as he could.

Let’s see, in the first hour of the movie we pretty much only see Marguerite Moreau and her husband. Other characters, like her friend (or sister, couldn’t tell) appear briefly, but they appear long enough to say their lines and disappear. But the last 20 minutes or so – there’s an old lady eating a baby arm, a zombie looking dude, a monster, and probably other shit that I missed while double checking the info on the DVD player to make sure I was watching the same movie. And her husband’s assistant, who appeared once early on as well, suddenly hijacks the movie, rambling about her baby – it actually took me a moment to remember who she was, because her character was so insignificant. I guess it’s nice to be surprised, but I shouldn’t be wondering “Wait, did I miss like, 20 minutes of this movie where we even knew this girl HAD a baby?”

And the movie never really capitalizes on Moreau’s phobia, which was the best thing about the film. We’re told that it’s not exactly agoraphobia, but instead the extreme opposite of claustrophobia – she wasn’t even comfortable in her own home unless she was looking at a wall that was in close proximity to her. So she can’t even look at the ceiling, because it’s too far away. It’s an interesting hook for a movie – it’s not that she can’t go outside, she can’t even peek around a corner or she’ll freak out. But it’s never really used in the movie. And it’s really awkward – the film opens with portions of a documentary about her illness, and then when the documentary stuff ends, she’s totally fine in the present day. So you’re thinking – her phobia comes back due to the killer or whatever this movie’s horror angle is, right? Well, not entirely. She has lapses and momentarily freaks out, but it never seems to get as full blown as we saw in the documentary, rendering the illness rather extraneous to the story – why not just say she’s agoraphobic (which is something we understand) and spend less time having to explain it, and then use that time to develop the other characters?

Especially her husband, who comes across as a creep from minute one and... turns out to be the bad guy. I had his motive pegged wrong – the couple has money issues so I figured he was intentionally trying to drive her crazy again to profit off of it somehow (he was the guy who made the documentary – what a fucking sleaze!). But who could have predicted his motive, when it comes out of nowhere and makes absolutely no sense (something about a baby for Satanists)? On the commentary, the director says he could make a sequel concerning what the husband was doing for the bulk of the movie – I’m all for it, as long as someone else writes and directs it.

He also alludes that the house wasn’t entirely appropriate to what he had in mind (something about no light coming in so it looked dark at all times), but says nothing about why the last 30 minutes of the movie don’t make a lick of sense. And since they all involve heavy makeup and other effects, he can’t blame the budget – those things were a waste of money, as far as I’m concerned. The husband could come back home and things could be explained perfectly well, but instead he tosses in all of these ghost/monster things (real or imagined) which just confuse matters. As with the documentary/phobia stuff, he’s inserting stuff that just crowds the movie and keeps what’s actually working about it from shining through.

He also doesn’t bother resolving other plot points. At one point Moreau’s friend/sister claims she saw her husband behind her and waving (they’re using Skype or something along those lines), when he’s supposedly not even home. Explained? Not that I could tell. And her phobia was caused by a childhood tragedy of sorts, which also goes maddeningly underdeveloped; there’s more about the porch she wants to build on her historical house (another vague plot point involves some murders that occurred there). I swear, it’s like they made 3-4 different movies starring Marguerite Moreau and edited them together at random.

Using Final Cut Pro! During the documentary sequence we also see the husband editing (and adding a cross fade transition – fancy!) the movie, and it’s definitely FCP, and more than likely the same system the movie itself was edited on. I’m not an FCP fan (of the big three it’s my least favorite, but that’s mainly due to my general PC > Apple attitude), but I am always delighted to see editing software in movies. I also enjoyed the (I think) deliberately cheesy editing in the documentary, with the pretentious shot of the chair being turned to face the world over the end credits. Hell, I think I’d rather just watch this whole documentary – it should have been a bonus feature on the DVD (all that’s there is the commentary).

Oh well. Interesting premise, admirably batshit twist, and Moreau carries the film, but as a whole it was too jumbled and sloppy for me. Shitty sound editing too – learn how to transition room tone!

What say you?

23 comments:

  1. I felt exactly the same way whenI watched this movie. I thought it could have been really good, but it just totally lost its way. The quality of the movie was so poor, I honestly thought I was watching a much older movie, until I saw the bit where she was using the Skype and thought 'huh?' Great review!

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  2. Oh wow... I began reading this exactly thinking you were talking about 2009's The Uninvited (which you have reviewed), which you've previously mentioned was the remake of A tale of two sisters (not the other 2003 South Korean The Uninvited or 1944's The Uninvited).
    Instead, an entirely different movie... that doesn't seem to be too good (if not entirely unredeemable). Odd times. (at least it seems '09s film still has rights to the worst "the uninvited" title... serves it right)

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  3. Holy crap, I totally agree that there are too many movies with this title. It's just confusing at this point. I also thought you were talking about 2009 The Ininvited with Elizabeth Banks, so I was initially confused by your description. Someone needs to start coming up with more original titles.

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  4. Ha ha, there's yet another movie titled The Uninvited (I believe that it came out in 1988). That one features George Kennedy, Clu Gulager and Rob Estes, among others, being terrorized by a cat--whose harboring a killer mutant rat in its stomach by the way--that's escaped from some lab and stowed away on their yacht! Seriously, that's the plot. Anyway, as you can tell from the set up, it's a pretty terrible movie.

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  5. I decided to watch this showing on IFC-(right now!)-but it had the synopsis for the newer Uninvited movie. I have been watching it an hour and was wondering where the "sisters" were that it promised me. And I had no idea Colin Hay was an actor. So I went online to sort it out, which has also been maddening. imdb has no real info, so I turned to you, which was the next Google hit. Thank you! I finally know (or actually I have no idea) what the hell is going on in the movie. I thought there must be some reason it was made, but I think not. OH-and also-you reviewed this on my bday-so it is your gift to me to recommend I stop watching this now...

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  6. Omg! I feel like I am in an alternate universe, as I, too, was looking for the sisters an hour into the movie. Thanks IFC. Terrible movie... And it had potential!

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  7. Yep. Same here. I was like "When is this mother in law, sisters, and battle of wills gonna start?". Thankskilling used to be the worst movie I have ever seen, but this is worse because I am confident that the creators of Thankskilling intended on it to be terrible.

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  8. Ha, just watched this on IFC, totally confused & looked here to see if there was any explanation what was going. Seemed to have good potential but terrible execution for the ending.

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  9. Interesting movie ... until the old woman appears on TV and laugh ... and the man with a baby voice ...? Oh god

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  10. I too am watching this movie right now on IFC...with the other movies description and kept wondering where the sisters etc where....and was so damn confused that I had to search for something (anything) to explain this AWFUL film and found your review. Thank God I found it!

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  11. Wrong description on IFC brought me here too!!

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  12. This has got to be the worst film I have ever seen, what a waste of 2 hours!!! I believe there are 2 films with this title.... just don't watch this one!!!!!!

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  13. I can't count the times my friends and I jumped into our sofa. Gosh! So scary.

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  14. damn ifc......came here to say this

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  15. I JUST watched the movie like 5 mins ago..confused the hell outta me..thought i'd google it to get more understanding only to find that you're just as confused as me lol

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    Replies
    1. Same here ~ I was looking for the two sisters and the nurse.

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  16. Same here. I knew two minutes in this wasn't the movie I thought it was. The one with the sisters cause I had seen that one before. But I decided to watch this one anyway because it caught my interest in that two minutes. I should have kept channel surfing because now I just have a bunch of unanswered questions and I hate that more than anything when watching a movie. SO FRUSTRATED!

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  17. Yea I agree with everyone here... I watched this movie earlier bc it was on my on demand, and yea this movie is definitely not good and confusing as hell!! Whoever directed/made this movie needs to go back to film school. They need to have someone redo this whole movie, give it a different name and actually make it right. I HATE confusing movies.

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  18. DUMB ASS MOVIE.... I guess I did the same thing as you all. Thought it was a different movies and continued watching, cause it made me jump a couple time. Kept turning it off cause that creepy old lady and when she ate the baby hand, I had to take a break for a couple days... I didn't understand a DAMN thing... The actors sucked too. -10 Stars....

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  19. Lol! I've tried watching this hideously confusing movie maybe 5 different times. Usually one can figure out a general idea of what this movie is about....go figure, this one has me stumped as well as everyone else here. Maybe the writer/director or actress can fill us in?!

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  20. hey man, this is meant to be creepy and scary and not make sense at all, it accomplished that

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  21. this is a un usal movie my friend was in it

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  22. Hey I'm all for movie bashing but I feel maybe were being presumptuous about it. Yes: to the general veiwer (a catagory I do include myself in) the last 30 minutes are a bit rediculous, but I think I may have come to a realization or 2 others may have over looked due to the strange manner I watched it. It sounds as if tbe majority of people who left comments attempted to watch the movie from start to finish, which I attempted about 6 months ago w/ my roomate in the dorms but we got bored and shut it off. However, just now I watched it coming in around the time she calls her friend and she tells the main chick to take steps away from the wall... And I managed to pick up most of the plot from this point w/ far less confusion (for trolls who will now comment something lime ' then why were you googling it?' I will clarify that I felt id missed something important about the baby/serial killer dude from earlier in the movie and I was actually Trying to find a plot summary ) and veiwing it from here meant tjat the entite premise of her fear was omitted, as well as her hus ands creeper vibe and any superfuous minor characters. I gathered that the visions she saw she had already registered as ghosts (she says so to her friend on the phone) and she's s ared but nobody will help her so she attempts to confront her own fears. Then a young lady with a gun who knows her husband appears threatening her and at first I think she's trying to decide if she's really there or not. Then when tjis strange girl starts spewing about a baby and suicide I gathered that her husba d bought a baby for some evil purpose (I.e. to sacrifice to a xreepy old cannible). This is confirmed by the husbands explaination of tbe situation towards tge end and solidified by his comment tjat he put A sedative or sleep aid in her breakfast so shed sleep all day.... and left the kid there unattended. So the guy w/ a baby voice is just her seeing a ghost while hearing the damn baby. Also, in the husbands explaination of the things about to go down w/ the cult and baby and stuff he mentions that he tries to convince the cult to do the ceremony somewhere else even tbough this house is a paranormal hot spot so I concluded that tbe woman eating a baby arm is a residual haunting sort of 'reacting' to the babies presence ... and the other creepy things. are as well.... so except the last 5minutes I walked out of the room for things added up for me. I mean, this was no great oscar winning thing of genius.... but it would pass for a scyfy original .... so its definately not the wordt I've seen. I sat through Twilight.... Red Hook.... and Sand Sharks. This outranks them all.

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