The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )
Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
Studio and Year: DreamWorks - 2009
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Feature running time: 87 Minutes
Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 1.85:1
Audio Format(s): English Dolby TrueHD 5.1, French/Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English, English SDH, French, Spanish, Portuguese
Starring: David Strathairn, Elizabeth Banks, Emily Browning, Arielle Kebbel
Directed by: The Guard Brothers
Music by: Christopher Young
Written by: Craig Rosenberg, Doug Miro, Carlo Bernard
Region Code: A
Blu-ray Disc release Date: April 28, 2009
"Fear moves in"
From the producers of The Ring and Disturbia comes a nail-biting thriller, THE UNINVITED. Following the suspicious death of their mother, sisters Anna and Alex become entangled in a deadly battle of wills when their father becomes engaged to Rachel, their mother’s former caretaker. As the two sisters investigate Rachel’s questionable past, they are confronted with ghostly visions, terrifying nightmares and deadly consequences.
I am a fan of horror/thrillers and when I saw the trailer for The Uninvited it looked pretty good. This synopsis above pretty much describes what this film’s premise is. The film opens with Anna (Browning) who is at a teenage beach party and decides to leave early and head home alone through the woods in the dark. This is a horror movie so suffice it to say she stumbles into trouble. As it turns out Anna has spent the last 10 months in a mental hospital after attempting suicide. Her bedridden mother was “accidentally” killed in a tragic fire that was supposedly started by a leaking oil drum in the family boathouse. Anna has returned home to her father (Strathairn) and sister Alex (Kebbel) to find that Rachael (Banks) the woman who cared for her mother has not only moved in but is her father’s girlfriend. The sisters are very suspicious of Rachael and resent the relationship between the two. Anna begins having ghostly visions of her dead mother and three unidentified children (mostly a red haired girl) that all appear to be warning her about Rachael. She shares this with Alex and the two begin to notice little things about Rachael that question her past and identity. The clincher is when Matt, a local grocery delivery boy who has a crush on Anna, tells her that he saw something at the house the night of the fire. She makes plans to meet with him to find out what he knows. Rachael becomes aware that the girls are up to something and things quickly escalate as they get closer to the truth. The level of danger rises which culminates in a frightening showdown that has an unexpected twist.
This wasn’t exactly what I expected and turned out to be more of a thriller than a horror movie. That in and of itself wasn’t a problem but I felt that the script didn’t flow as well as I’d hoped. I think it would have been more rewarding if it remained more or a horror story. It initially reminded me a bit of The Messengers but lacked its better story and engaging creepiness. There were a couple of jump scares but they were predictable which depleted their impact. The two girls were fairly well drawn characters but both Steven (the father) and Rachael lacked depth. Visually I thought that the film was beautifully shot but the darker/frightening elements were too repetitive which added to the predictability mentioned earlier. I did like the little twist at the end. Part of it I saw coming and part I didn’t which is a good thing. This is apparently a remake of an Asian film called “A tale of two sisters”. I haven’t seen the original so I can’t draw a comparison. This is an average horror/thriller that makes for a decent popcorn movie on a stormy night.
The rating is for violent and disturbing images, thematic material, sexual content, language, and teen drinking.
AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65
**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Low frequency extension:
- Surround Sound presentation:
- Dialogue Reproduction:
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Black level/Shadow detail:
- Color reproduction:
The Uninvited comes to Blu-ray Disc from DreamWorks featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 30 mbps and lossless Dolby TrueHD 5.1 channel audio that has an average bitrate of 3.3 mbps.
This is a great looking high definition video presentation that features plenty of high level detail and deep image penetration. The wide angle and vista style views of the landscapes near the house and the surrounding water have excellent dimensional depth and visual acuity. Colors have a resplendent quality that is highlighted by natural looking earth tones and warm but realistically depicted complexions. Good shadow delineation in a film like this is essential and it was never an issue here. The moonlit and darkened nighttime shots of the exterior of the house, woods and water exhibit deep shadows and contrast. I could easily detect the subtle but definable shapes of the stones in the rocky shoreline as Anna and Alex sat near the water in the dark. Blacks are strong and have plenty of dynamic range which enhances perceivable depth in scenes containing mixed content. An example of this can be seen during a segment shot at night where the full moon is shining on the water. The pearls of moonlight glisten off of the peaks in the rippling water which starkly contrasts the deep black of the water itself. Scenes shot during the day are crisp, colorful and offer excellent delineation and fine rendering. Overall this is a solid offering from Paramount/DreamWorks Blu-ray.
The lossless Dolby TrueHD sound mix featured definitive front channel separation and opulent clarity. Soundstage depth and imaging across the left, right and center channels was excellent. This gave the multitude of directional sounds and dialogue deep room penetration, high level perception of detail, and appropriate near field placement. The surround channels were used primarily to augment the sound field emanating from the main channels and to solidify directional panning sequences via use of ambient and discrete sound placement. Dynamics and low frequency effects had solid weight and tangible authority that resonated well in the room. The combination enhanced the film’s tense and creepy moments. I would like to have seen a bit more depth to the bass response which I feel would have heightened the impact of jump scares in the story. That is a relatively minor complaint in an otherwise decent surround mix.
- (HD) Unlocking The Uninvited – 19 minute behind the scenes/making of featurette
- (HD) 4 deleted scenes
- (HD) Alternate ending – This very minor change hardly seemed worthy of inclusion
The Uninvited is an average popcorn horror/thriller that lacks truly interesting characters and a cohesive script. It is beautifully shot and features a twist of an ending that wasn’t bad at all. Its debut on Blu-ray Disc from Paramount/DreamWorks offers excellent high definition visuals and solid audio quality. The bonus features are limited to a bland making of feature, a few deleted scenes and the inclusion of an odd alternate ending. On the bright side they are all offered in high definition. If you enjoy genre films like this give it a rent on a stormy night.
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