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Uninvited, The


Stars: Emily Browning, David Strathairn, Elizabeth Banks, Arielle Kebbel

Director: The Guard Brothers

This remake of a Japanese shocker is one of those chillers where the denouement is more interesting than the film itself, even though it cheats something rotten to hide its secrets from us. Browning is (just adequate as) Anna, freshly released from psychiatric hospital 10 months after the traumatic death of her mother. She gets a warm welcome from her sister Alex (Kebbel), but a cool one from Rachel (Banks), once her mother's nurse, and now mistress of the girls' father (Strathairn). What a good actor like Strathairn is doing in such a nothing part is bewildering, but he treads cautiously round both Anna and the subject of his relationship with Rachel, whom he subsequently reveals he plans to marry.

Plagued by bizarre nightmares, Anna becomes convinced that Rachel was responsible for the death of her mother. She and Alex discover that Rachel was never a registered nurse and has changed her name. A friend who promises to reveal all dies mysteriously and the girls resolve to have things out with Rachel while Dad's away.

Subsequent developments make it hard to comment on the film's content except that it's sometimes hard to tell what are nightmares and what's reality - a clue, perhaps, to the plot's resolution, which is just worth ploughing through the narrative's many yawns to reach.

Alan Frank

USA 2008. UK Distributor: Paramount (DreamWorks). Colour by deluxe.
88 minutes. Not widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 1, Violence/Horror 1, Drugs 0, Swearing 1.

Review date: 19 Apr 2009