Uninvited, The (2003) Review

"The Uninvited" Korean Theatrical Poster

"The Uninvited" Korean Theatrical Poster

Director: Lee So-Youn
Writer: Lee So-Youn
Producer: Oh Jeong-Wan
Cast: Jun Ji-Hyun (Chon Ji-Yeon, Jeon Ji-Hyeon, Joon Ji-Hyun, Gianna Jun), Park Shin-Yang, Kim Yeo-Jin Park, Won-Sang Jeong Wuk, Lee Ju-Sil
Running Time: 128 min.

By Mighty Peking Man

One day Jung-Won (Park Shin-Yang) falls asleep on a subway train. Once his stop point comes, he awakens and gets off. Just as he steps out, he turns around and notices two little girls, abandoned, sleeping peacefully on the train he was just on. He ignores his strange observation and makes his way home. The next day, while listening to the radio, he hears shocking news about two girls’ bodies that have been found on the subway train. In awe, he keeps this uncanny revelation to himself.

That night, while in his apartment, he starts to see horrifying images of the same two girls sitting at his dining table. Frightened and confused, he decides to temporarily flee his pad and stay at his dad’s place, which is also a church that his father operates. As the days come, Jung-Won loses more and more sleep, so he decides to check into mental health clinic. While there, he meets a young girl named Yun (Jeon Ji-Hyeon) and is somehow drawn to her – not in attraction – but more in an unexplained spiritual way. It just so happens that Yun attends the church that Jung-Won’s father runs.

One night after church services, Jung-Won take a few attendees home, one of them is Yun. Dropping off the other members, Yun is the last one left in his vehicle. As he’s driving to her destination, she suddenly faints. In panic, he decides to take her to his place. When she wakes up, she heads out and thanks him for his hospitalities. Just as she leaves, she says: “You should put your kids to sleep”. It turns out that Yun is seeing the same exact images of the two little deceased girls. Jung-Won decides to pursue her and find out what’s really happening. In the course, the puzzle unwinds. New truths and older mysteries are revealed.

The Uninvited is a strange, slow-paced and disturbing experience. No visual punches are pulled, so be prepared to be rattled by the graphic images you’ll see; They’re not bloody, they’re just VERY present. Out of all the “ghost” Asian movies I’ve seen so far (i.e., Ju-on, The Ring, The Eye, Tale of Two Sisters), this one seems to be the most thought-provoking. However, that doesn’t mean it’s the best. There are a few plot holes and unresolved trails that really lead to nowhere; and this hurts it from being an otherwise excellent film.

Like most people, I was attracted to this movie mostly for the appearance of Jeon Ji-Hyeon (the ultra-cute and extremely photogenic babe from My Sassy Girl). The Uninvited sheds a different light on acting abilities, even compared to her dramas. In her role as Jun, she’s very offbeat and dim; In fact, I don’t even think she smiles once in the whole movie. Despite the misleading poster-art, they tried to make her look homely-looking, knocking out almost everything that makes her the bombshell that she really is. They succeed, but with a girl like Jeon Ji-Hyeon, you can never succeed enough. She still looks like a heavenly creature.

If it weren’t for a few plot holes, The Uninvited could have been another prized Asian ghost story, but instead is falls short a few notches. With out a doubt, it’s still entertaining and worth seeing at least once; especially if you’re a fan of these kinds of movies.

Mighty Peking Man’s Rating: 7/10

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