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uninvited
Click for full sized poster

The Uninvited

Starring Emily Browning, Elizabeth Banks, Arielle Kebbel and David Straithairn
Screenplay by Craig Rosenberg and Doug Miro & Carlo Bernard
Directed by The Guard Brothers

IN SHORT: The teevee commercial lies. [Rated PG-13 for violent and disturbing images, thematic material, sexual content, language and teen drinking. 87 minutes]

Said commercial implies that The Uninvited is a tear your brains out suspense thriller with gore overtones not unlike those in some slice 'n' dice fantasies -- a dropped glass of milk shatters, spilling blood everywhere. Stuff like that -- which it's not. It is however one of the few films that we've seen over the past fifteen  years that holds the biggest surprise of its story to the very last line of the screenplay. Literally. Simply, The Uninvited is the kind of film that, once it is available on DVD, continuity nuts will pore over frame by frame checking to see if all the bits and pieces add up. There is a tremendous amount of misdirection and, considering we just sit back and wait to see if we enjoy the film, we surely did (even as the audience guffawed when they thought they that had seen "it" all before... dummies. heh)

The Uninvited is the story of young Anna (Emily Browning), her sister Alex (Arielle Kebbel) and father Steven (David Straithairn). As the film begins it is ten months after a  horrible fire which killed Anna's terminally ill mother and pushed a  mentally unstable Anna to attempt suicide (slashed wrists). Yeah, that's a whole mess of history to absorb but the psychaitrist on her case -- Anna's been confined to a sanitarium -- is confident enough  that he tells her that it's time to go home and "finish what you started." Anna is, oh, twelve-ish or so, and that means she's got a whole lifetime to get done; one tragedy is not enough to stop a proto-teen in her tracks! The nutcase in the room across the hall is ticked off that Anna is getting out but that's unimportant (not). Daddy is waiting to take her home and all will be well in the world! Dad is now a published author -- the events that predate this film had sidelined his work -- and a book promotional tour is on the horizon. Not that Dad is going to leave the freshly scrubbed Anna to fend for herself, mind you.  Dad has moved on. Anna discovers that the nurse who cared for her dying mom, Rachel (Elizabeth Banks) is now permanently ensconsed in the household as dad's new girlfriend. As well, something is just not right with sister Alex -- who isn't as vehemently opposed to the hook up as Anna is. As the days pass in the house, Anna becomes more and more supicious of any ulterior motive on Rachel's part and, when the sisters roam the net and  hit the phones to do a background check, some major lies are uncovered.

Something to do with a nanny at a different house who murdered her kidlet charges and stole a certain necklace of pearls very much like the ones that Rachel wears -- "a gift from a previous client," she says. Alex and Anna search through Rachel's things when they have the house to themselves. What they find leads them to believe that dad's next wife to be is determined to send the old kidlets from the happily ever hereafter. While dad is off to New  York on a business trip . . . stuff happens. We'll leave it at that.

On average, a first run movie ticket will run you Ten Bucks. Were Cranky able to set his own price to The Uninvited, he would have paid . . .

$7.50

Stick with it 'til the very end. It's worth the wait.

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