12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
Lee hits this one out of the park.,
This review is from: The Uninvited (DVD)
The Uninvited (Su-yeon Lee, 2003)
The Uninvited is being marketed here in America as just another Asian horror flick, which is a disservice not only to the film, but both to the Asian horror film audience in America and the audience that would get far more out of it. Not to say there isn't crossover; I rented it expecting another Asian horror flick and got, well, The Uninvited, which while it contains some supernatural elements (and the rather extreme ways of depicting them of which the Japanese are so fond), is a breathtaking psychological drama about the lengths a person will go to to defend himself from the past, and the devastation that can occur when those defenses are broken down.
While the main character is Jeong-won (Shin-yang Park), it's hard to really define anyone as a "main" character here. He (and his story) gets the most screen time, but everything going on around him is just as important, even the part to which he and his story are tangential. In any case, Jeong-won is an interior designer with a problem--a nagging, overbearing fiancée, Hee-eun (Seon Yu). One night, he falls asleep on the train home, and rides it to the last stop by accident. As the train pulls off into the yard for the night, from the platform he sees that two small children are still on the train, seemingly asleep. The next morning, he finds out they were found there dead, and almost immediately after has a work-related accident that causes head trauma. That night, he sees the two dead girls sitting at the new table his fiancée just bought.
And that's just the first five minutes. It's also the synopsis most people will give (everyone stops there because we run out of space for it), and that's why everyone thinks it's a ghost story. Oh, but there's much more--an alleged psychic, a murder trial, a poor priest who may or may not be who he says he is, rumors of infidelity, a mental clinic, and it just keeps going on and on. There's no way to give a full synopsis of this movie in less than a thousand words; there's simply too much to it, and it's all quite wonderful.
The pace is psychological-drama pace, not horror pace. You should be expecting things to move slowly. It is, after all, over two hours long, which gives us enough time to absorb all the different threads Su-yeon Lee wove into the screenplay. There's a lot going on here; this is a movie that requires you to pay attention to it, but the payoff is in the characters, the way they interact, Lee's bravery in not tying up all the loose ends (the final scene is just perfect, even if we're probably in greater suspense about the scene that would come just after than we have been at any point in the movie), and all the other little things that make The Uninvited one of the best movies I've seen this year. **** ½