May 30, 2006


The Uninvited

THE UNINVITED, one of my favorite horror movies from Asia, arrives today, courtesy of Panik House Entertainment, the folks responsible for the Pinky Violence Collection.

This seriously painful movie arrives on a special features loaded Region 1, English subtitled DVD that includes:
- Behind the scenes featurette
- an interview with star Jeon Ji-Hyun (of MY SASSY GIRL)
- a weird feature called ABRIDGED: THE UNINVITED CONDENSED
- an essay by Art Black
- audio commentaries

I did an article on Korean horror for Film Comment a while back and here's what the young me had to say about THE UNIVITED:

"The problem with SORUM is that, like A TALE OF TWO SISTERS, nothing happens. The characters start out dead and just get deader. We may learn some tragic backstory, but there’s a suffocating predetermination to the plots. By contrast, Lee Su-Yeon’s THE UNINVITED (2003) features traditional character development but it only serves to make things worse. Written and directed by yet another first-time director, the script caused an industry buzz but audiences felt let down by the movie’s refusal to hew to horror movie conventions.

When yuppie architect, Kang, gets off the subway at the last stop one night he notices two little girls asleep on the seats, but he doesn’t want to be bothered and takes off. The girls turn up dead the next day and before long his wedding plans are interrupted by their silent ghosts sitting at his ultra-chic dining room table and just staring at him. His neighbour (played by Jeon Ji-Hyun, thoroughly soiling her pert, brassy image from MY SASSY GIRL)  is a puffy-eyed narcoleptic who lost her baby in a grotesque accident, but when she sees the ghosts and reveals that she's the daughter of a mudang (Korean shaman) he begs her to help him remember his blanked-out childhood. This turns out to be a major mistake as it turns out that he killed some people as a kid and, of course, he’s adopted.

Shot in a sterile apartment complex, full of homicidal mothers and suicidal shut-ins, THE UNINVITED gives us characters completely alienated from authentic experience. The Confucian order of the universe is totally overturned as the film builds to a harrowing final betrayal, and it becomes a statement of complete and utter emotional isolation. Although it’s immature in its one-sided depiction of a world paralyzed by grief, THE UNINVITED’s articulation of that world is passionately accomplished: its sound design, script, cinematography and acting are all of a masterfully fabricated piece. With nothing allowed to stray from its laser-guided mission to make us believe that we are utterly alone, it feels like the conclusion of a journey Korean horror’s been on for the past six years."

May 30, 2006 at 08:36 AM in News | Permalink


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