Emily Browning, star of the semi-overlooked thriller The Uninvited, told SCI FI Wire she hopes the film will find an afterlife on DVD, as it effectively raises goosebumps and is a rare showcase for female actors.
Browning (Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events) starred in The Uninvited as Anna, a young woman so troubled by her mother's recent death that she'd been sent to a mental institution. By the time she's released, Anna's father (David Strathairn) is engaged to Rachel, the mother's nurse (Elizabeth Banks). Soon, Anna and her older sister (Arielle Kebbel) find themselves locked in a battle with their stepmother-to-be. Oh, and did we mention that Anna is haunted by ghosts?
SCI FI Wire spoke exclusively to Browning on last week in a telephone call from her home in Australia. Paramount Home Entertainment will release The Uninvited on DVD and Blu-ray on April 28, with deleted scenes, a behind-the-scenes featurette and an alternate ending among the extras available in both formats. The following are edited excerpts from the exclusive interview with Browning.
The movie is scary, but how about the script? Was it a scary read? Or at least moody enough that you could tell it'd make for a creepy movie?
Browning: Well, I think without the imagery it's not necessarily scary. But what was important in the script and what kind of drew me to doing the film was that when I was reading it I didn't pick the twist. When I found out the twist while reading the script I was like, "Wow, that's really cool!" But it's not scary, really. It's just words on a page. But I guess I could tell from the script that the movie would be scary.
Haunted house movies and evil stepmom tales aren't new. What was your sense of what the Guard brothers [co-directors Thomas and Charles] did to make The Uninvited stand apart?
Browning: I knew from talking to them that, firstly, they were really focusing on the cinematography. They wanted to shoot it really differently than a regular thriller, which I thought was cool. They had these beautiful locations that they planned to film at. That was something that was already going to set it apart. Also, I felt the fact that it was three very interesting and different female characters set it apart for me, also. There are so many ditzy girls who get killed in the first scene in lots of horror films, and this was very different. It shows lots of different angles on these three female characters, and the one male character [Strathairn] is really probably the weakest character involved. That appealed to me as well.
The Uninvited is actually based on A Tale of Two Sisters. How familiar were you with the Korean original?
Browning: I'd already seen it before I read the script. I got to L.A., and the directors were like, "Don't watch the original. We're really trying to not copy the original." I was like, "I've already seen it!"
You saw it on your own, as part of your general moviegoing experiences, or you saw it because you'd heard about the remake?
Browning: I'm pretty sure I saw it before I even heard about the film. I was in my last year of high school at the time, and my best friend and I would always meet every Friday afternoon and [rent] a few DVDs. We'd always try to find one weird one we'd never heard of before, and we just randomly watched it. A little while later I got the script [for The Uninvited], which was kind of weird.
How pleased were you with the finished film?
Browning: I was very pleased. It's hard, because I was not sure what to expect. It's really tricky to try and piece this film together when you know you have to keep a secret from the audience the whole time. And then you also have to make sure that if they go and watch it again that there's a point in the film where they go, "Ah, I see what's happening." The twist has to surprise people, but it can't not make sense. So we filmed so many alternate scenes to try to make sure that once it was all together no one knew what was going on. When I saw the film, I was like, "Oh cool, that's what they used."