The Uninvited

uninvitedthe

The Dead are Not Silent

 

 

The Uninvited

Director: Lewis Allen

Stars: Ray Milland/Ruth Hussey

Year Made: 1944

Genre: Horror

Running Time: 99 Minutes

Spoilers are not silent, Even in Death

            One of the oldest types of horror stories is the story of the haunted house. Even if you go back centuries, stories of old houses and restless spirits will still be there. When it comes to movies there have been dozens made about spooky houses, but 1944’s “The Uninvited” is seen as one of the greatest ever made. The plot setup is simple but effective. A pair of English siblings Roderick “Rick” Fitzgerald (Ray Milland) and his sister Pamela (Ruth Hussey) are vacationing on the coast of Cornwall when they happen across a huge country house. They instantly fall in love with every room in the house except for an upstairs room that always seems cold and unpleasant. They decide to ask Commander Beech (Donald Crisp) the houses owner if it’s for sale and he offers it to them at an extremely low price, which they eagerly accept, at first things seem happy and peaceful with Rick even romancing the Beeches young granddaughter Stella Meredith (Gail Russell). However, once the two siblings are settled in, the Fitzgerald siblings begin to notice eerie sounds and strange smells that come from nowhere. It soon becomes clear that the two are not alone in the house and their uninvited guest has a particular interest in Stella.

I’ve never been a fan of ghosts as an antagonist. While there are many great movies revolving around ghosts or curses I’ve always preferred an antagonist that actually exists physically. Ghosts have a tendency to rob characters of their agency. While a physical threat (hopefully) has characters trying to avoid it or eliminate it, characters confronted with a ghost or other spiritual threat, seem content to wait around and let it come to them. Haunted house movies have even more problems than the regular supernatural horror film because the way to stop the haunting is simple just leave the freaking house. With all my prejudices against ghosts in mind, believe me when I say that “The Uninvited” was a surprisingly great film.

“The Uninvited” salvages a fairly predictable set up with strong characters and some clever twists at the end. While the plot was good, what really won me over was the how it was shot .Now I don’t know what it is about movies shot in the nineteen forties, but they all seems to look incredibly beautiful. This is especially surprising for me, who has always preferred color to black and white, but “The Uninvited” is gorgeous. Every scene perfectly conveys the mood and when things get supernatural, it looks like the cast has stepped into another world. While all the cast is good, the standout is definitely Gail Russell’s, Stella. When she wasn’t the victim of supernatural mischief she was a fun and likable small town girl and when the spooky stuff started she defiantly convinced me that something otherworldly was affecting her. On a side note, this film had an Ouija board scene before Ouija boards were even invented. I cannot stress this enough, a horror film lives and dies by the mood it instills and while “The Uninvited” never got all the way to terrifying, this was for the best, as it seemed reasonable that the Fitzgerald’s wouldn’t want to leave. Still “The Uninvited” was very creepy and very memorable

Sadly “The Uninvited” didn’t completely escape the flaws of a haunted house movie. While the characters were more proactive than usual, the movie did take a little time to get started. While there were no pointless scenes of the characters walking around only to run into jump scares, there was a romantic subplot. While the romance between Stella and Ricks did give Rick motivation not to leave the house, I couldn’t help but wonder if a reel from “Roman Holliday” had gotten accidentally spliced into this ghost movie. Something that was more strange than disappointing was Rick not showing much fear. Even when things got supernatural, Rick (almost) always kept his stereotypically British stiff upper lip. This might be due to it being the forties when it wasn’t appropriate to see the hero freak out and lose his cool. Despite all of this, “The Uninvited” was one of the best, haunted house movies I’ve ever seen, and as I don’t normally enjoy haunted houses of any kind you know that’s high praise.

F.A.Q’s

Did I like the movie: Yes

Would I watch it again: Yes

Would I buy it: No

Halloween Costumes for Women: Sexy Nurse, Sexy Werewolf, Sexy Cthulhu

 

uninvited_17

The Spirit is a Fragile Thing

 

 

Advertisements

Don’t Breathe Review

dont-breathe-poster

They Picked the Wrong house

Don’t Breathe Review

Director: Fede Alvarez

Stars: Jane Levy/Stephen Lang

Year Released: 2016

Genre: Horror

Running Time: 88 Minutes

Spoilers are right behind you

        More than any other genre, horror films are hit and miss for me. For every great horror film, I see it seems there are half a dozen others that bore me to tears .It might be that it I’m harder to scare than then when I was a kid. Or maybe the way to make a truly great horror film is something that Hollywood has lost. Either way, there are a lot of horror movies out that just don’t interest me at all. So in order to find out what I really like in a horror film and to celebrate Halloween, October going to be all horror movies. Let’s start this month off right with a movie that was just recently in theaters and did a lot of things right.

“Don’t Breathe” is the latest film Uruguayan filmmaker Fede Alvarez who broke into the American market with his remake of the cult classic “The Evil Dead.” It follows a group of three young thieves in Detroit. There’s our heroine Rocky (Jane Levy), the obnoxious street thug Money (Daniel Zovatto) and cautious nice guy Alex (Dylan Minnette). The three doing well as Alex’s dad works for a security company and has codes to the houses alarms. However, their fence is short changing them on the stolen goods and Alex insists that they not steal cash as that comes with a higher charge. This is especially bad for Rocky as she’s only stealing to get her and her sister out of Detroit and away from their abusive mother. A sudden windfall comes, when Money learns of a house in a nearly abandoned, part of the city that may be the answer to all their problems. Even better, is that the house only occupant is an old, blind war veteran (Stephen Lang), who recently get a massive cash settlement when his daughter was killed by a rich, drunk driver. What starts out as a simple plan quickly goes to sh#$ when the blind man catches them in the act and proves to be a ruthless badass who’s more than capable of overpowering them with ease. Even worse it that their harmless looking victim has a dark secret that he’ll gladly kill to protect.

I wasn’t planning on seeing “Don’t Breathe” at first as I have been disappointed with most of the recent horror films in theaters. But, I heard good things about “Don’t Breathe” so I decided to give it a shot and I was pleasantly surprised. It’ wasn’t just the fact that “Don’t Breathe” was a good horror movie, but that it was a good slasher movie. For those of you who don’t know, the slasher was a particular brand of horror movie that used to rule the theaters back in the eighties. They were started by classics like “Friday the 13’th” and “A Nightmare on Elm Street” but these days there mostly just a subject of mockery, due to how formulaic their plots became. Tell me if this sounds familiar, a bunch of sexy teens (who are mostly assho%$s) go someplace that has an evil reputation and get killed off by a huge freak until the soul surviving girl (and it’s always a girl) manages to kill the monster and get away. Slasher movies eventually became so dumb that the only reason to watch them was so you could root against the stupid teens. Fortunately, while “Don’t Breathe” has teens running from a killer, it avoids the other pitfalls of slashers.

The cast of “Don’t Breath” is what helps separate it from most horror movies. While it does have Money the token jerk, he actually contributes to the plot. More importantly, he does the audience a favor by getting killed off very early (thank God). Even better are Rocky and Alex. Both are likable characters with extremely relatable motivations that help the audience understand them. Even though their way out of poverty involves robbing a crippled veteran. Speaking of him, the blind man (that how he’s listed in the credits) is an excellent antagonist. Stephen Lang is in tremendous shape for his age and every time he and teens fight, he’s so quick and brutal that he seems unstoppable. More impressive is the blind man’s motivation. Most horror movie villains have little to no motivation but the blind man is a huge exception. Even after we learn about his horrible crimes, you can still understand why he did them. In the end, he’s just a broken man that’s trying to find something to live for in a world that’s taken everything from him.

Beyond its excellent characters “Don’t Breath” is a relentlessly tense film. Half the movie had me on the edge of my seat, ready to panic. While “Don’t Breath” has a very brief eighty-eight minute run time, this actually helps it. No scene feels overlong or pointless. While a few parts of the story were difficult to accept, none of it was so bad as to ruin the whole plot. While it’s generally accepted that horror movie sequels are the worst kinds of sequels, “Don’t Breathe” actually made me hope that we get one. The ending perfectly sets up a sequel and it would be great to see a modern movie defeat an age-old trend. If you’re looking for a recent horror movie this Halloween, I’ve got one piece of advice, check out “Don’t Breathe”

F.A.Q’s

Did I like the movie: Yes

Would I watch it again: Yes

Would I buy it: Yes

Things you don’t want to hear from your kids: I’m going to get ice cream or commit a felony. I don’t know, I’ll decide in the car

dont-breathe

Never mess with a desperate man