However, it’s a shame that the film resorts to standard jump-out-of-your-seat scares, when the heart of the story—Anna’s troubled emotional state—calls for something more subtly sinister. Directors Charles and Thomas Guard simply cannot pull that off. By keeping viewers at some remove from Emily’s point of view, they leave viewers waiting for the next big scare rather than making them care about Emily’s true state of mind. The result is an ending that must surely pack more of a wallop in the Asian version of the film than it does in this American remake. Not even Oscar nominee David Strathairn can make the film’s final, troubling realization into something appropriately horrific.

Viewers looking for genuine frights are advised to skip The Uninvited. If they need a scare, they might want to turn on the evening news or review their latest 401(k) statements. Why add to the suffering?

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  • Smoking/Drinking:  A teen speaks multiple times of being drunk, and later says that getting through a certain experience “is going to take a lot of alcohol.”
  • Language/Profanity:  Lord’s name taken in vain; some foul language.
  • Sex/Nudity:  Passionate kissing; a boy tells his girlfriend, “I have a condom,” but she walks away from him; verbal reference to dad’s new girlfriend “helping him three times a night”; a daughter can hear her father and girlfriend having sex in a nearby room; girls discover a sex toy in a drawer.
  • Violence:  Several disturbing visions and dreams, including images of bodies in trash bags, a dead woman crawling and screaming, “Murder!”; spilled milk turns to blood; blood oozes from a keyhole; a house explodes in flames; a person begins to assume a different bodily form; a corpse is fished out of the water; images of children’s corpses, and descriptions of child murders; a syringe is injected forcefully into an unwilling person; a woman is struck by a perfume bottle; blood stains a floor and seeps into a carpet.
  • Religion:  Scripture is read at a funeral.