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Film / The Uninvited (2009)

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The Uninvited is a 2009 American remake of the 2003 South Korean horror film A Tale of Two Sisters. It is unrelated to another 2003 Korean horror film and a 1944 American film, both of which have the same name.

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. Now she is being discharged and has no memory of the actual fire, although she is frequently plagued by nightmares from the night. She meets up with her sister, Alex (Arielle Kebbel), only to find that everyone is ignoring her, and that her father Steven (David Strathairn) may be in a scandalous relationship with a murderer. Not only that, but it seems that no one is who they first appear to be...



  • Adult Fear: Not only did Steven lose his wife, but he lost one of his daughters on the exact same day. And his other daughter is the one who killed them, which drove her insane.
  • Ax-Crazy: Anna is revealed to have been the one who set the house on fire, unintentionally killing her mother and sister. Played straight later, when she murders Rachel.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Rachel is nothing but sweet around Steven, but seemingly acts very bitchy towards Alex and Anna, and appears to try to kill them towards the ending. It's ultimately inverted when it's revealed that Anna was actually the murderer, and that Anna seemingly just imagined Rachel acting that way; Rachel was indeed innocent.
  • Dead All Along: Turns out that Alex was killed in the same explosion that killed her mother, and Anna was just imagining her through the movie.
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  • Disproportionate Retribution: Find your father cheating on your mother? Being pissed is an appropriate reaction. Telling your mother, sure. What isn't is immediately plotting to set the house they're in on fire. It's safe to say that Anna is well off her rocker before she loses her sister and mother.
  • Does Not Like Shoes: Though natural in a beach house, Anna still ends up barefoot in many scenes of the movie.
  • The Ending Changes Everything: Through most of the movie Anna seems to be haunted by the ghost of her mother, and is implied that it's because her mother wants to prove that Rachel set the explosion fire that killed her, and that Rachel is trying to kill her and her sister Alex. The ending reveals that Anna was actually the one that set the fire with the intention of killing Rachel, but accidentally killed her mother and Alex, and that it drove her insane, causing her to imagine the ghost, Alex being alive, and Rachel being guilty, as well as kill both Matt and Rachel.
  • Enter Stage Window: Anna at one point finds Matt climbing in through her window.
  • Foreign Remake: This film is one to A Tale of Two Sisters, the 2003 South Korean psychological horror film by Kim Ji-woon.
  • Genre Roulette: Switches from horror to drama to mystery thriller throughout.
  • Good Is Not Nice: While Rachel is innocent, she had some jerkass moments, such as the way she talks about her old clients. Elizabeth Banks said that she tried to deliver every line she said in a way it could be interpreted two ways, to support both the idea that she was evil and the reveal that she was innocent all along.
  • Ill Girl: The girls' mother is said to have been seriously sick in bed at the time of her death.
  • The Killer in Me: Anna killed every person that died. She doesn't remember anything she's done until a massive flashback scene. It also comes with The Reveal that her sister Alex has been Dead All Along.
  • Knife Nut: Anna uses a knife to kill Rachel. She doesn’t even realize it, thinking Alex saved her, until the Wham Line prompts her to look at where she is holding her sister's hand, only to see she’s holding the bloody knife instead.
  • Ms. Fanservice:
    • Arielle Kebbel wears a bikini top quite a bit throughout the movie.
    • Rachel too; our first shot of her is a Sexy Silhouette of her in a low-cut, sweat-drenched workout top. Her dress at the dinner party is very clingy too. She's Elizabeth Banks, after all.
  • Red Herring: The records on Mildred Kemp, a nanny who killed the three children she looked after because she had an obsession with their widowed father. Anna tries to tell Steven that Rachel is her, but ultimately she is wrong: the real Mildred Kemp is the mental patient from the very start of the film, meaning she was probably hallucinating the records in the first place.
  • The Reveal: Alex died in the fire with her mother. The fire was caused by Anna witnessing Steven cheating on her mother with Rachel and deciding to burn the house down. A trail of gasoline and a knocked-over candle result in her mother and Alex burning alive in the second house before Anna can reach the main house. Guilt drives her insane, causing her to develop dissociative identity disorder. Anna imagined Alex being alive, and also killed both Matt and Rachel.
  • Sanity Slippage: This would be the case if Anna weren't already insane.
  • Split Personality: It turns out that Anna developed this after becoming insane, which is the reason why she doesn't remember having killed Matt and Rachel.
  • Stringy-Haired Ghost Girl: A suitably freaky one as well is the ghost of the girls' mother.
  • Trophy Wife: Rachel appears to be this to the girls' dad Steven. Turns out they really were in love and she wasn't evil.
  • Wicked Stepmother: Played with. Rachel is Steven's new girlfriend, after his wife died in a fire. Throughout the movie, Anna keeps seeing ghostly images of her dead mother seemingly accusing the girlfriend (who was her nurse) of setting the fire. In fact, Anna was the one who accidentally set the fire, killing her mother and sister, and blocked it out with the memories manifesting as ghostly images. The girlfriend was simply trying to be nice to her.
  • Wham Line:
    Steven: Alex is dead!
  • Your Cheating Heart: Steven was having an affair with Rachel during the time his wife was bedridden.


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