The Uninvited (2009 film)

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The Uninvited
The Uninvited (2009 film).jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by The Guard Brothers
Produced by Walter F. Parkes
Laurie MacDonald
Roy Lee
Screenplay by Craig Rosenberg
Doug Miro
Carlo Bernard
Based on A Tale of Two Sisters 
by Kim Jee-woon
Starring Emily Browning
Elizabeth Banks
Arielle Kebbel
David Strathairn
Music by Christopher Young
Cinematography Daniel Landin
Edited by Jim Page
Christian Wagner
Distributed by Paramount Pictures
Release dates
  • January 30, 2009 (2009-01-30) (United States/Canada)
  • May 28, 2009 (2009-05-28) (Germany)
Running time 87 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Box office $41,624,046

The Uninvited is a 2009 American psychological horror film directed by the Guard Brothers, and starring Emily Browning, Elizabeth Banks, Arielle Kebbel and David Strathairn. It is a remake of the 2003 South Korean K-Horror film A Tale of Two Sisters, which is in turn one of several film adaptations of the Korean folk tale Janghwa Hongryeon jeon.


Anna (Emily Browning) has been in a psychiatric institution for ten months, following her suicide attempt after her terminally ill mother died in a boathouse fire. Upon her discharge, she has no memory of the event but frequently suffers related nightmares. While packing, Anna is startled by a disturbing, talkative patient from the room across the hall. Shortly after, she leaves with her father, Steven (David Strathairn), a writer who has dedicated his latest book to Anna and her sister.

At home, Anna reunites with her sister, Alex (Arielle Kebbel), with whom she is very close. The sisters stand against Steven's girlfriend Rachel (Elizabeth Banks), who had been their mother's live-in nurse. Alex criticizes Steven for sleeping with Rachel while the girls' mother was still alive and sick in bed but he does not respond. Anna describes to Alex how scenes from her dreams have started happening while she is awake. The sisters become convinced that the hallucinations are messages from their mother, telling them that she was murdered by Rachel.

Anna catches up with her old boyfriend, Matt (Jesse Moss), who tells her that he saw what happened the night of the fire. They secretly plan to meet that night, but Matt fails to show up and Anna returns home. In her room, Anna awakens to find him climbing into her window, saying that she needs to know the truth and that he had a warning from her mother. They come close and have a kiss but then she notices his body suddenly warping and his back breaking. Anna flees from the room in fear but when she opens the door, he is gone. The next morning, Matt's dead body is pulled out of the water, his back broken just the way Anna saw it. The police assume he fell and drowned.

The sisters are unable to find a record of Rachel with the State Nursing Association and conclude she is actually Mildred Kemp, a nanny who killed the three children she looked after because she had an obsession with their widowed father. They try to warn their father, but he ignores their concerns and leaves for work. The girls try to gather evidence against Rachel to show the police but Rachel catches them and sedates Alex. Anna escapes and goes to the local police station, but they do not believe her claims and call Rachel to take her home.

As Rachel puts Anna in bed, Anna sees Alex in the doorway with a knife. Alex tells her to stay silent and Anna passes out. She wakes to find that Alex has killed Rachel and thrown her body in the dumpster. Relieved, the girls comfort each other. Their father drives up, horrified at the scene. Anna explains that Rachel tried to murder her and her sister but Alex saved their lives by killing Rachel. Steven is confused, saying that Alex died in the fire along with their mother. When Anna looks down, she finds that she is not holding her sister's hand, but the blood soaked knife used to murder Rachel.

Anna finally remembers what happened on the night of the fire. After catching her father and Rachel having sex, Anna became enraged and filled a watering can from a large gasoline tank in the boathouse. She carried it toward the house, intending to burn it down, but spilled a trail of gasoline that was ignited by a falling candle. Her mother and Alex were killed in the resulting explosion. Flashbacks reveal that Anna has been hallucinating Alex since she left the institution. She remembers killing Matt—who did show up at their planned meeting—by letting him fall and break his back. She also remembers killing Rachel.

The police are called to arrest Anna for murder. When Steven is questioned, he reveals that Rachel changed her last name years ago to escape an abusive boyfriend, which explains why Anna couldn't find Rachel's record at the nursing board she worked at and it could also mean that the Mildred Kemp story she came up with was false. The police ask why Anna would make up this story, but Steven remains speechless.

At the institution, Anna is welcomed back by the patient that scared her earlier, whose name plate on the door reads "Mildred Kemp".



In 2002, producers Walter F. Parkes and Laurie MacDonald produced the hit horror/thriller, The Ring, a remake of the Japanese film Ring. They subsequently produced the film's successful sequel The Ring Two in 2005. Since first starting this new cycle of Asian horror film adaptations, Parkes and MacDonald searched for a project they felt was as ingeniously conceived and executed as The Ring, and finally found it when producer Roy Lee brought the original Korean hit movie on which The Uninvited is based to their.

As A Tale of Two Sisters was playing in US theaters, directors Tom and Charlie Guard acquired the English language remake rights. The Guard Brothers studied at Cambridge before launching careers as commercial and short film directors for such clients as Nokia, Euro Disney, Sony, and Microsoft. The Korean remake is their first feature film. In June 2006, DreamWorks announced that a deal had been set up for the US version, A Tale of Two Sisters (advance press materials drop the "A" from the English title). The new film is a presentation of DreamWorks and Cold Spring Pictures (Disturbia), and is produced by Walter F. Parkes and Laurie MacDonald (The Ring, The Ring Two) and Roy Lee. The screenplay was written by Craig Rosenberg (After the Sunset, Lost), Doug Miro and Carlo Bernard (The Great Raid).[1]

In early 2008, the title needed to be changed. The working title was originally A Tale of Two Sisters like its predecessor, but the final title was confirmed to be The Uninvited in an announcement made in March.[2]

The film was released in North American and Canadian theaters on January 30, 2009.

Shooting location[edit]

Although the film is set in Maine, it was shot in Vancouver, British Columbia. Most of the film was shot at one location, a waterfront property on British Columbia's Bowen Island, a short ferry ride west from mainland Vancouver.

Producer Walter F. Parkes said, of the shooting location:

It is reported that a two-story boathouse in the film was built on the property overlooking the water just for several scenes. The cold water is rough and unappealing; it is a greenish-gray that crashes constantly and does not invite swimming.[4]


Emily Browning was hired to portray the lead Anna Ivers. She had originally auditioned for the role of Alex. The film is rated PG-13, and is less visually gory and bloody than the original film.[4] Elizabeth Banks plays a new character, Rachel.[5][self-published source?] Banks based her character Rachel on Rebecca De Mornay in The Hand That Rocks the Cradle.[6] "It was very important to me that every line reading I gave could be interpreted two ways," says Banks of her role, "So that when you go back through the movie you can see that."[6] David Strathairn plays the concerned father of the two girls.[7] Arielle Kebbel plays Anna's older sister, Alex Ivers.[8]


The original score for the film was composed by Christopher Young, who recorded it with a 78-piece orchestra and 20-person choir. His score features a glass harmonica, and the Yale Women's Slavic Chorus.[9]

Home media[edit]

The film was released on DVD and Blu-ray on April 28, 2009 in the U.S., and July 23, 2009 in Australia.


Critical reception[edit]

Rotten Tomatoes, a review aggregator, reported that 31% out of 125 surveyed critics gave favorable reviews, and the average score was 4.5/10. The consensus was "The Uninvited is moody and reasonably involving, but suffers from predictable plot twists."[10] Metacritic assigned a rating of 44/100 from 22 reviews, which indicates "mixed or average" reception.[11] Bloody Disgusting gave the film 6/10[12] while on Yahoo! Movies Critical Response, the average professional critical rating was a C according to 11 reviews.[13]

Box office[edit]

On its opening day, the film grossed $4,335,000 and ranked #2 in the box office.[14] However, it finally got $10,512,000 for its opening weekend, set on the third place, opened in 2,344 theaters with an average $4,485 per theatre.[15] The film spent nine weeks in U.S. cinemas, and finished with a total gross of $28,596,818. It did fairly moderately for a horror film in the US markets.[16] The film was released on March 26, 2009 in Australia, and the film opened at the fifth position, averaging $3,998 at 121 sites, for a gross of A$483,714. The second week it dipped 29%.


  1. ^ Scifi Japan(December 26, 2007). "Two Brothers remake Two Sisters." Retrieved on January 18, 2009.
  2. ^ "Announcement of title change". 
  3. ^ Scifi Japan (December 26, 2008). "The Perfect House." Scifi Japan. Retrieved on January 18, 2009.
  4. ^ a b Heidi Martinuzzi(January 05, 2009). "An Invitation to the Set of The Uninvited." Retrieved on January 18, 2009.
  5. ^ Heidi Sam Baltrusisi(January 11, 2009). "Elizabeth Banks gets wicked in 'The Uninvited' ." Loadgun Boston. Retrieved on January 18, 2009.
  6. ^ a b "Elizabeth Banks: The Uninvited". 30 January 2009. Retrieved January 30, 2009. .
  7. ^ Brad Miska (June 22, 2007). "David Strathairn Stars Opposite Banks in 'Two Sisters' Remake ." Bloody Disgusting. Retrieved on January 18, 2009.
  8. ^ Arieanna Schweber (December 30, 2008). "Arielle Kebbel in “The Uninvited” ." Gilmore Girl news. Retrieved on January 18, 2009.[dead link]
  9. ^ Goldwasser, Dan (June 3, 2008). "Christopher Young scores the horror film The Uninvited". Retrieved June 3, 2008. 
  10. ^ "The Uninvited (2009) Movie Reviews, Pictures – Rotten Tomatoes". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved February 2, 2009. 
  11. ^ "Uninvited, The DreamWorks Pictures (Paramount): Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved February 2, 2009. 
  12. ^ "The Uninvited (A Tale of Two Sisters remake): Review". Bloody Disgusting. Retrieved February 2, 2009. 
  13. ^ "The Uninvited (2009): Reviews". Yahoo! Movies. Retrieved February 2, 2009. 
  14. ^ "Daily Box Office for Friday, January 30, 2009". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved February 2, 2009. 
  15. ^ "Weekend Box Office Results from January 30–February 1, 2009". Box Office Mojo. February 2, 2009. Retrieved February 2, 2009. 
  16. ^ "The Uninvited (2009) – Daily Box Office Results". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved November 26, 2010. 

External links[edit]