The Uninvited

The Uninvited Information

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 that night. While packing, Anna is startled by a disturbing, talkative patient who stays in the room across from hers. 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 her comments fall on deaf ears. 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 had been murdered by Rachel.

Anna catches up with her old boyfriend Matt (Jesse Moss), who tells her that he saw what happened the night of her mother's death. The two secretly plan to meet that night, but he inexplicably 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. Suddenly, his body grotesquely warps, 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 state he fell and drowned.

After the sisters are unable to find a record of Rachel with the State Nursing Association, they conclude she is actually Mildred Kemp, a nanny who killed the three children she was paid to care for because she had an obsession with their widowed father. They try to warn their father, but he brushes off their concerns and leaves for work. In desperation, 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 are disbelieving of 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. When she wakes up, she finds that Alex has killed Rachel and thrown her body in the dumpster. Relieved, the girls comfort each other. When their father drives up, horrified at the scene, Anna, holding hands with Alex, explains that Rachel tried to murder them but Alex saved them by killing Rachel. Confused, Steven tells Anna that Alex died in the fire along with their mother. Anna looks down to find 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 together having sex, Anna became enraged and filled a watering can from a large gasoline tank in the boathouse and carried it toward the house, intending to burn it down. However, she spilled a trail of gasoline that ignited when a candle fell over. Her mother was killed in the resulting explosion, as was Alex. It is revealed here that Anna has symptoms of both severe schizophrenia and dissociative identity disorder. Flashbacks reveal that Alex was never actually there and was a hallucination of Anna's throughout the film. She remembers killing Matt (who did show up at their planned meeting) by letting him fall into the water 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. The police ask why Anna would make up the Mildred story, but Steven remains speechless.

At the mental institution, Anna is welcomed back by the patient that scared her earlier, whose name plate on the door says "Mildred Kemp". Anna smiles vaguely, and the screen cuts to black, credits rolling.



In 2002, producers Walter F. Parkes and Laurie MacDonald produced the hit horror/thriller, The Ring, a remake of the Japanese film Ringu. 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 attention.

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, PlayStation 2, and Xbox. 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).

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.

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

Shooting location

The film 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."' 'Eighty percent of the story takes place at the house, so we couldn't make the movie without the right one,' said Walter F. Parkes. It couldn't have been more important.' 'We Scouted Louisiana, an environment which both beautiful and slightly threatening. We had two houses which were terrible compromises, but both of them fell through. We had a difficult time finding anything that had both the connection to the story and the right logistical possibilities.'"

"'But then we were lucky to find in Canada a place that seemed as if it had been built for our movie,'" he continues. "'It was perfectly evocative and suggestive of a family that is both welcoming and forbidding. The fact that the house was within 30 miles of Vancouver was a greater plus than the minus of having to get everyone on boats to get them over there; water taxis and ferries are a way of life up there. In fact, I don't remember ever having a more pleasant time on a location. Getting onto a boat and having a cup of coffee and then going up the little pier and the stairs we built, it focused us. We were isolated with one thing on our minds, which was making this movie. It was great.'" However, the film's location is set in Maine.

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.

Filming took place on Bowen Island.


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. Elizabeth Banks plays a new character, Rachel. Banks based her character Rachel on Rebecca De Mornay in The Hand That Rocks the Cradle. "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." David Strathairn plays the concerned father of the two girls. Arielle Kebbel plays Anna's older sister, Alex Ivers.


Main article: The Uninvited (soundtrack)
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.

Home media

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

The film received mixed to negative reviews from critics; Rotten Tomatoes reported that 31% out of 125 reviews that critics gave favorable reviews, with the average score of 4.5/10, with the consensus "The Uninvited is moody and reasonably involving, but suffers from predictable plot twists." Metacritic also score the film of 44/100 (mixed or average) from 22 reviews. Bloody Disgusting gave the film 6/10 while on Yahoo! Movies Critical Response, the average professional critical rating was a C according to 11 reviews.

Box office

On its opening day, the film grossed $4,335,000 and ranked #2 in the box office. 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. 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. 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%.

See also

The story has been adapted to film a number of times including:

  • Janghwa Hongryeon jeon (1924) directed by Kim Yeong-han
  • Janghwa Hongryeon jeon (1936) directed by Hong Gae-myeong
  • Janghwa Heungryeon jeon (1956) directed by Jeong Chang-hwa
  • Dae Jang-hwa Hong-ryeon jeon (1962) directed by Jeong Chang-hwa
  • Janghwa Hongryeon jeon (1972) directed by Lee Yu-seob
  • A Tale of Two Sisters (2003) directed by Kim Ji-woon

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