What Is the Movie "The Uninvited" About?

by John Cagney Nash
The specter of untimely death looms large throughout

The specter of untimely death looms large throughout "The Uninvited."

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"The Uninvited" is an American remake of the South Korean horror film "A Tale of Two Sisters." The original was released in 2003, the remake in 2009. The movie centers around Emily Browning's character Anna, a girl in her early teens. Following the death of her terminally ill mother in a fire at the boathouse where she lived, Anna attempts suicide and is sent to a mental institution. After almost a year she is discharged -- doubly happy because another patient is scaring her with ghost stories -- despite being utterly unable to remember anything that occurred on the night before her mother's death.

The Back Story

Anna's father is a successful writer. He welcomes her back into his home, which is the eerie, isolated, seacoast Gothic mansion to which the boathouse was attached. Anna finds out that in the mere 10 months since the fire, her father has settled down with Rachel Summers, hitherto her mother's nurse and now her stepmother. The relationship is understandably strained. Anna also reunites with her older sister, Alex, played by Arielle Kebbel, who tells Anna that she -- Alex -- had written many letters and made many CDs for her sister while she was institutionalized. All were apparently intercepted and confiscated by the girls' father.

Strange Things Occur

Anna is haunted -- perhaps literally -- by ghosts from her past. In what may be dreams her mother appears, warning her about Summers, and three silent children lead her to a seemingly unrelated tragedy that occurred some time before, but close by. Anna shares the dreams with Alex, and the pair come to believe that Summers killed their mother; the two sisters set about proving this.

Events Unfold

Anna meets up with her old boyfriend and he tells her that he saw everything at the fire; they make plans to meet so he can tell her the whole story, but he doesn't show. That night she dreams he falls from her bedroom window while trying to climb in to tell her the story, breaking his back. The following morning his dead body is pulled from the ocean, back broken.

Denouement (Spoilers)

The sisters uncover the past that Summers is trying to hide: She is really Mildred Kemp, and was nanny to the three dream children. She killed them to get close to their father. In a struggle Summers manages to drug Alex into unconsciousness, but Anna makes it to the local police. Unfortunately -- because of her history of mental illness -- they disbelieve her story, sedate her and return her to the Gothic manse. The stupefied Anna believes she sees her sister with a knife, but passes out. When Anna awakens, she follows a blood trail to a Dumpster. Summers' body is inside, killed by Alex. When the father comes home Anna holds tight to her sister's hand and tells him that Summers attacked them and that Alex killed her in self defense. Her father tells Anna that Alex died in the same fire that killed her mother. Anna looks down, and sees that she is not in fact holding her sister's hand, but a bloody knife. She has a revelation: The night before her mother's death she had witnessed her father and Summers making love; back at the boathouse she had filled a container with gasoline, intending to burn the lovers to death in the main house. The container leaked, she left a trail, a disturbed candle ignited the trail and the boat house burned down instead. She had also killed her former boyfriend. The police are unable to work out why she made up the Mildred Kemp story, but take her back to the institution. There she is met by the same patient that had scared her before. There is a name on that patient's door: Mildred Kemp.

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