Being a huge fan of the original film A TALE OF TWO SISTERS I was opt to be a little skeptical by yet another remake of an Asian film with the potential to be an utter water downed dredge (i.e. ONE MISSED CALL, SHUTTER, THE EYE, etc.). More often then not American filmmakers just don’t get why the original films are so good which is why we get such horrible remakes. Either that or they tend to water down the plot in order to, heaven forbid, make it more “accessible” to American audiences. This is never a good idea as horror film audiences are not “dumb” (since we are the ones that watched and liked the original films subtitled) and get even more upset when filmmakers think that we are. This is why “good” American remakes of Asian films are few and far in between – only THE RING and THE GRUDGE come to mind (with the later being directed by the original film’s director).
A TALE OF TWO SISTERS is a brilliantly crafted ghost story (possibly) with rich characters all around and magnificent performances by the ensemble cast. The story is slow but that is deliberate as the film relies on mood and dread to keep the audience on edge. It’s a mystery and a suspense film rather then a typical horror film but when the horror comes, it comes in spades (most of it at the end). The American remake THE UNINVITED (2009) barely resembles the film it claims to be a remake of. Instead this new film is a watered-down THE SIXTH SENSE-pretender that wishes it was as clever as that film or as engaging as TWO SISTERS.
The biggest problem with the remake is not with the cast as the ensemble cast in this film is actually its only asset (praise goes to the three women of the film Elizabeth Banks, Arielle Kebbel, and Emily Browning, sorry David Strathairn), but with the production design which makes the family seem like they are wealthy beyond their means with a father (Strathairn) who is merely a writer whose book just came out. It seems to be the norm in American films to present families in “suspense” films with these overly wealthy homes or situations (i.e. WHEN A STRANGER CALLS, PROM NIGHT, THE GLASS HOUSE) thus defusing any sort of empathy with the characters (with the exception of WHEN A STRANGER CALLS in which the house actually made for a very good character in the cat ‘n mouse “suspense” thriller).
No matter how hard the cast tried to make the film work they couldn’t because of the predictability of the entire affair. In this post-SIXTH SENSE movie world in which the “twist” is now looked for (and sometimes even expected) by audiences THE UNINVITED was completely predictable (even though I knew the original my friend had guessed the film long before the end and he didn’t even know it was a remake). It also doesn’t help that even though the film looks “pretty” there is no style or substance to the film like Ji-woon Kim’s TWO SISTERS. The random “jump” scares are also tiresome which happen about every ten minutes when nothing of substance is on the screen.
THE UNINVITED (2009) is a better forgotten remake (like so many of late) that leaves a sour taste in your mouth but since its less then ninety minutes long (whereas the original was almost 2 hours) you won’t have long to suffer.