THE UNINVITED (2003, South Korea)
DVD review (R2, Asian Vision)
Still reeling from seeing this one.
From the opening creepy premise, the downbeat atmosphere keeps on going further down... An architect travelling on a subway at night realises that 2 little girls sitting near him, have in fact been murdered. As they begin to haunt him, his relationship and his family start to unravel. Particularly when he seeks help from a young woman who has recently lost her own child.
THE UNINVITED is a slow-moving, but gripping drama with supernatural overtones. I kept on misreading where the plot was going - it's not so much about the murder case with which the film opens, but about the case he subsequently gets tangled up in. I was confusing some of the plotted coincidences with the parallel themes that the director was exploring - I'll probably follow the film better on a second viewing.
All the characters were beautifully played, particularly the architect (Shin-yang Park) and the young narcoleptic (Ji-hyun Jun, star of MY SASSY GIRL) who have the most challenging scenes, for instance where Park has to be overwhelmed by grief.
Re-occurring themes of unwanted children and infants in danger seem to address the fears of young parents. However, there were many subtle images throughout the film which I recognised but didn't gain anything from - there was an ongoing battle between christian and buddhist icons, for instance. I felt I was missing the point, while wanting more clues as to what exactly was going on. A case of not seeing the wood for the trees, or if you like, couldn't see the plot for the subtexts.
But I mean to recommend this film. It's haunting and memorable. The dream sequences are beautifully done, and the acting is sublime. But it's the distressing shock moments that take the film into a horror movie category occupied by the similarly tragic TALE OF TWO SISTERS, also from South Korea.
The Asian Vision Region 2 DVD (not pictured here) that I saw was intended for Scandinavia, but it had a good set of english subtitles and a fine DTS soundtrack. There are trailers for THE UNINVITED, TELL ME SOMETHING and TUBE.
Probably not for cat lovers...