A few years back I watched a Korean movie called The Tale of the Two Sisters. I found the actresses who play the "two sisters" cute looking, like I do with most Koreans, so I thought I'd check it out for cuteness sake. It was pretty good, but spoiled with a cliché ending that ripped off another movie that begins with "F" and ends with "ight Club". Unlike that other particular movie, the ending of Two Sisters didn't manage to invoke a second viewing, so I left it at that.
Last year, a film was released called The Uninvited, and it was an American remake of Two Sisters. My first thought was "oh jeez" but then I noticed one of the actresses was Emily Browning, who previously made it big in Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events; which I haven't seen but I often noted the remarkable cuteness of Browning. In The Uninvited she's now a semi-grown up young woman but still retains the baby-cuteness that draws me in to the places I often forbid myself to go (I'm talking about bad movies *er-her-hem*).
A pre-warning: I'm not going to be posting pictures in this one. Due to technical difficulties it is too much effort, so just go on imdb and see the pictures there for reference.
I watched The Uninvited recently, and it was pretty bad by the standards of a critical thinker like me. To briefly point out the things that turned me off: It was really awkward to sit through. Even if it is your intention to make a scene awkward, it doesn't make it any easier to watch, so I'd make sure to handle awkwardness with a deep purpose and to a total effect (I had the same problem with Where the Wild Things Are even though it was an exercise in eye-guaging beauty). It has one long drawn out scene with a therapist, which turns me off instantly. I consider the process of making a film itself as a form of therapy, so it's redundant (not an enhancement) to add a therapy session in the story. There was Internet-searching as plot development. No amount of horror in movies will reach the amount of horror that is the Internet, not to mention it was handled a bit sloppily. To a seasoned horror-movie watcher this film's "scary" moments are pretty tame, and they didn't add much to the story, they seemed just slapped in as some kind of unexplained supernatural existence for the sake of shock value. The twist ending was an anticlimax, which I don't think was intentional.
This movie was worth sitting through, in the end. It was saved by the sublime beauty of Emily Browning. If ever the film were to veer off into awkwardness and drawling plot development, my eyes can wonder and absorb the unending aesthetic overload of Browning's presence; since fortunately for me, she is the film's centre. Whether or not she was capable of carrying the film on her shoulders I couldn't care less, I was too busy getting lost in her hazel eyes, her perfect lips, the contours of her cheeks, the softness, the perfection. She is the highest achievement in beauty, she is Beethoven's 9th, she is Pachelbel's "Canon in D Major" sung by the voices of the Angels in Heaven. In every scene I'd fall in love, then fall in love with falling in love, then fall in love with falling in metalove, then fall in metalove with falling in metalove. You get the picture. I need a girlfriend, I know.
Emily Browning is an Australian actress. If you've lived in Australia then you'd notice she is undeniably Australian looking, some might say she's a "bloody fine sheila" (other acceptable mysoginistic Aussie white trash terms might be "hot chicky-babe" or "you-little-beauty"). It's hard to get past the opening scene where she's kissing some surfer dude at a party (the kind where little kids get naughty), but he dies (whoops! Spoiler) so I got over it eventually. The original Korean version didn't have any love interest, which is probably what ended up bothering me about it. The older sister, played by Arielle Kebbel, was also nice looking, but she had this "Maggie Gylenhaal from Donnie Darko" party-gal feel which didn't interest me very much. There was plenty of eye-candy to be had with bathing suits and a bit of (body double?) underwear nudity, oh yeah and that dress with maximum "whoah-mama" cleavage.
In conclusion, the faults of the film were of no faults of the actors, they did the best they could with what they had. The story and the scenes were not completely thought through, there are better ways to convey the feelings of dominance or fear in characters, there are better ways to convey a sense of unease in a viewer, it doesn't have to result and resort to awkwardness; unless the story truly calls for it. But I pose the question: Can bad films be saved by beauty? My answer is that it makes it easier to stomach, like a spoonful of sugar to make the pain more swollowable.