It appears that The Uninvited is being marketed as a horror movie, but it doesn't seem to be quite sure what it is. Sure, there's some gore, and some "jump" moments where a hand shoots out to grab someone or a shadowy figure lunges at a character. But there are also stabs (no pun intended) at an old-fashioned family melodrama and at a supernatural thriller. Unfortunately, the film doesn't live up to the potential of any of these genres.
The movie opens with a dream sequence from Anna (Emily Browning), about the night her mother died. When Anna related the dream to a doctor in the mental hospital where she's confined, he pronounces her well on the road to recovery and sends her home to her family. While she's happy to see her father (David Strathairn) and sister Alex (Arielle Kebbel), Anna immediately locks horns with Rachael (Elizabeth Banks), her father's fiancee. It seems that only about a year ago, Anna's mother was dying of some lingering disease and Rachael was her nurse ... and a mysterious fire killed Anna's mother. Anna can't remember what exactly happened on the night of the fire, and no one else seems to know. The suspense is focused on just how wicked Rachael might be, and what the two sisters can do to find out the truth. In addition, Anna has supernatural and gruesome dreams ... but maybe they're not dreams at all.