'The Uninvited'


The latest Hollywood thriller to be inspired by a Korean horror movie, Paramount's "The Uninvited" has a serviceable premise. Fragile teen Anna (Emily Browning) is released from a sanitarium, where she has been confined since the fire that killed her mother. But when she returns home, she is distraught to learn that her dad (David Strathairn) is living with her mother's nurse (Elizabeth Banks).

Anna begins seeing ghosts that suggest nursey killed Mom, but are these visions reliable specters like the ghost in "Hamlet" or figments of her deranged imagination?

The filmmakers have spoken in lofty terms of the Freudian influence on their movie, but in truth it's a gimmicky thriller that doesn't play fair with the audience. It has just enough spooky moments to snare a big opening, but it won't be around for long.

The remake has been entrusted to the Guard brothers, novice Brit directors who honed their skills on commercials. They go in for shock cuts that sometimes elicit the requisite squeals from the audience, but their work seems generic rather than original.

It's hard to say much about the plot without revealing the surprise twists. Although there are echoes of "The Other" and "Abandon," it's unlikely that audiences will see the twists coming.

But surprise for its own sake is not always a virtue. The final reel turns everything on its head but doesn't make a lot of sense. You're left snorting in disbelief, rather than smiling with pleasure over being duped.

The performances don't help. (partialdiff)
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