Sunday, February 1, 2009

Film Review: "The Uninvited" (B-)

I desperately need to go back through my DVD collection so that I avoid seeing PG-13 horror movies one after another.

However, comparing "The Uninvited" to the flood of other PG-13 horror out there right now, it's not half-bad (but it's not half-good either). The entire movie is simply ... okay. I've never seen the original material it's based on, so I won't even comment on it like it's a remake.

One of my chief pet peeves with all these PG-13 movies is that they go straight to the lame scares and the jerky/contortionist ghosts walking about. It was fun while it lasted, people. Stop using it - it fails to be anything but lame at this point. That being said, I do have some respect for the plot. It was mildly intriguing towards the end (although I'd figured it out before that), but the film lacks any energy prior to that. I found it difficult to care for any of the characters, except for - oddly enough - Rachael, played by the always fantastic Elizabeth Banks, who definitely amps up the creepy atmosphere. The teenage leads, particularly the eldest sister, are annoying and I just didn't feel the actresses really ... tried. I'm not sure they had to.

As for the material, the script is passable and generally a cut above the crap that has hit theaters lately. I wasn't a big fan of exactly how the film ends - I fail to see why directors always seem to go for the lame "dun dun dun" moment at the end of the movie. To be honest, most of the time I believe it is because they feel they need it, but I don't think this one did. I also felt the pacing was a little off - the film seems to take forever to get to the point. I'm not sure if that's because I was bored (.... I was) or if the movie is just a series of "boo!" moments before the last twenty minutes.

There are a few moments that surprised me during the film. I'm pretty sure commenting on them doesn't spoil anything, so I'll go ahead and ask: who else didn't know that you could show a vibrator in a PG-13 flick? I was shocked when it came up on screen and it isn't a "hidden" thing - it is very blatantly the focus of a conversation. I had no problems with it, but I just didn't think PG-13 movies could show sex toys.

All in all, "The Uninvited" is not a complete waste of time, but it wasn't exactly enjoyable. Like I said, I really didn't feel "into it" until the final twenty or so minutes ... and by that point, I'd already figured out how it was going to end anyway. That being said, I think anyone who is in high school and/or isn't a hardcore fan of the genre will find it an enjoyable 90 or so minutes. It seems like the kind of DVD that is destined to be picked for a slumber party.

And the fact that those kinds of movies are what horror fans get nowadays is seriously depressing. I really hope the "Friday the 13th" remake does not let me down - I need some good rated R horror, even if it is a remake of one of my favorites.

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