Did you know that American cheese cannot legally be sold in the United States as “cheese”? It has to be labeled as “processed cheese food” or something like that so that no one would accidentally mistake it for cheese. There’s a pretty clear parallel between American cheese and American remakes of foreign horror movies. In America, we love to remix things, take them, water them down with some vegetable oil, filler, old newspapers, whatever. Then we dye them yellow and slap the word American on it and call it a day.
I’m not going to be a snob and say that all U.S. remakes of international horror movies are shit, because there are some decent ones (The Ring comes to mind first). But I will say that for the most part, these movies don’t live up to the originals and should not be remade in the first place. I’ve said this before, but if you can’t be bothered to read subtitles for 90 minutes to experience a superior movie, you should be sterilized by having fish guts poured on your junk and tossing you into a tank full of hungry piranhas. The bastardization on the docket today is The Uninvited, Charles and Thomas Guard’s 2009 remake of A Tale of Two Sisters. The verdict (in case you can’t read between the lines) is that this movie sucks balls. Like I’d rather get a lap dance from a belt-sander than sit through this boring 87-minute shitfest again. I think we should do what the cheese people did and make it illegal to market one of these remakes as “horror”. Instead we’ll call them “American processed horror film product.”
Quick question, is it subtle homage or subtle racism to cast a girl that looks vaguely Asian as the lead in an all-white remake of a Korean movie? I’ll let you figure that one out for yourself. Anyway this movie follows the plot of the original pretty closely, but they take the Tarantino-style sequencing away so you lose part of the effect. (In the original, the big twist comes about half way through the movie). So I’m not going to get too far into a plot synopsis because it will ruin the original. You should probably just watch that and save your time/money on this one.
Teenage girl Anna (the awkwardly not-Asian girl) in a mental hospital after some kind of trauma involving her mother’s death. We’re not really sure what happened till much later. They send her home and she finds and mom’s hot, creepy nurse has moved in and is currently banging the unnaturally tan and handsome widower father. Anna and her sister start to suspect that Daddy’s new gal-pal (played by Elizabeth Banks) had something to do with mommy’s unfortunate demise, and that this is not the first time she’s pulled something like this. The closer they get to solving the mystery, the more scary shit starts happening. Mom’s ghost makes a few appearances in what we’ll call the only “scary” parts of the whole movie.
I will say, they did a good job with the cinematography. There are some cool things happening with light and shadows throughout the whole movie. Peoples’ faces obscured by shadow in a bright sunlit room, dark shadows cutting across bright areas in this big house. Even the few scenes of ghost mom and a couple of ghost ginger kids were really well done. But there were just too few of them. They used the tried but true pale, twitchy, decomposed body ghost that they use in all these movies, you know, the ones that always look like they’re covered in dead lizard skin, but they did a good job with it. Overall, it looked fantastic but other than that it was garbage.
In short, there is no reason for this movie to exist. It’s like the Glee of horror movies. You take something that you know is great, say, a Beatles song. Cram a bunch of attractive tweens into it and dress them up in mint green Abercrombie and Fitch (is that still a thing?) polos with popped collars and get them to ruin reenact someone else’s already-successful artistic expression in order to capitalize on it. You can’t use too much autotune or hair gel, just pile it on, but be sure to remove any semblance of actual artistic feeling, human emotion, or original thought.
Once you’re done, pat yourself on the back, you’re living up to the American dream. Go change out of your costume and have the butler make you a grilled American-processed-cheese-food sandwich.
For the record, this was more of a rant than a movie review. If you want to read a real review, go check out the one I wrote for the original. But make sure you watch it first.
- Is it scary? 2- I ate a bowl of Count Chocula and it was scarier than this movie.
- Originality: 1- It’s a shitty remake that sticks very very closely to the original in terms of storyline. The only departures they made from the original just weakened the movie overall.
- Blood: 3- There are a couple of nice bloody scenes but they are few and far between.
- Believability: 3- Nobody did anything outrageous like run up a flight of stairs. But I don’t know if I bought Elizabeth Banks as the creepy evil stepmother. To be fair, I never really liked her, but I see her as a comedy actress, and I don’t know that she was the best choice for this movie.
- Setting/Cinematography: 7- I have to give credit where credit is due. They did a good job here. The DP and the lighting team made it look as scary as possible.
Final Score: 16/50