The Uninvited - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Uninvited Reviews

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½ April 14, 2017
Watching Lewis Allen's THE UNINVITED for the first time is like watching a film by Jack Clayton, whose careful attention to detail creates an atmosphere in his films. Unlike Clayton's THE INNOCENTS, this overlooked 1944 near-masterwork is not very scary. It's certainly more chilling. In fact, there is not much suspense. Everything is relieved with a slight bit of comedy. But I believe that The Uninvited is more a film about deep inward feelings than a straight ghost story. Our characters our not truly terrified, but they do take the situation seriously. Back then horror was a gimmick. This film broke that mold.

The story centers around two siblings, who purchase a house while on holiday, and make friends with the house's last living member of its original occupants. Her mother died there. Her mother presumably haunts the place. The two siblings are not quick to jump for the easy way out. They believe it can be "cured." This, of course, takes us on a figurative roller coaster. The last living member is a young woman, who feels she has not made peace with herself. She is drawn to the house, but does not know why. This of course, unmasks a web of lies she has been grown believing in.
January 21, 2017
A film that seemed to have everything going for it, great critical acclaim, stellar cast but upon viewing I found it a little underwhelming & tricky to follow.

The story of a young couple purchasing a stunning & undoubtedly eerie seaside home for a steal price & as they begin to settle in it they see why it was so affordable.

The story is patchy & little confusion,great effects & atmosphere throughout the film though. May appeal to some...
October 17, 2016
The greatest haunted house film of all time. Everything we know about the ghost story subgenre, we owe to two films: William Castle's HOUSE ON HAUNTED HILL, and this 1944 masterpiece from Lewis Allen.
½ August 27, 2016
A pair of siblings (Ray Milland & Ruth Hussey) buy a quaint estate by the seaside for a suspiciously low price. They quickly discover that the house is haunted and that its spirits are connected to the lovely, sheltered granddaughter (Gail Russell) of the building's former owner (Donald Crisp). The Uninvited is an odd film for many reasons, but I was most struck by how it juxtaposes a quaint romantic comedy with an atmospheric ghost story. It's rare in that it's a properly-budgeted haunted house movie that takes its B-movie plot very seriously, but The Uninvited stands apart from the pack due to its underrated cast, moody direction from Lewis Allen, special effects that look pretty cool even by modern standards, and a lovely score by composer Victor Young ("Stella by Starlight" is used as a motif for the love scenes in this film and it later became a popular jazz standard).Some elements of this movie are mired in the narrative trappings of its day, but that doesn't stop The Uninvited from being an endearing story that's worth seeking out.
½ June 1, 2016
A well grounded and inspiringly acted thriller that sets a lot for the genre at that time, and also, Gail Russell delightful and gorgeous presence makes everything in the film better.
½ May 23, 2016
A mystery more than a horror. Good conflict and tension throughout. Excellent dialogue throughout. Great ghost story.
May 18, 2016
If you're in the mood for some old time black and white "golden age" of cinema fun, then Uninvited will serve that purpose. It's not a horror as we've now come to expect, but it delights in spooks and chily atmosphere. It's a fun movie with a bit of a dark side. The acting and (especially their lines) is something to behold.
May 10, 2016
Had a lot of hope for this one, but it's just not very good. Compared to like, Val Lewton stuff, this doesn't hold a candle. Starts off strong but loses steam pretty fast.
March 20, 2016
Not a bad "romantic" ghost story, a rather unusual ending though.
December 25, 2015
This is still one of the best classic ghost stories I've seen on film. It relies neither on grossness or "gotcha" moments for its frights but on good, straight-forward story telling and a few understated special effects that enhance the film's mood. Absolutely a must-see if you like ghost stories.
October 10, 2015
Going vintage tonight...#blackandwhite #movienight
September 5, 2015
This film really isn't that great, even by the standards of 1944. Ray Milland's cocky, over-charismatic, soap opera acting kills it for me, he's a total douche. The special effects are pretty good for 1944, but are few and far in between and it plays out more like a sappy love story than a haunted house movie. It also suffers from a boring storyline that is a lot more complicated than it has to be. The major plot points aren't emphasized at all which makes it difficult to pinpoint what's important to know and what isn't. I missed one single sentence and was lost for the rest of the film. But it did have some really good cinematography and spooky atmosphere. And all the other actors (except Milland) do a "decent" job. However, this just isn't enough to pull it out of the cinder. I guess it is worth watching once or twice for it's historical value, it is one of the earliest haunted house films after all and it was a driving influence for others of it's kind. But you won't be missing anything special if you skip over this one.
Super Reviewer
July 24, 2015
An large abandoned home on the stormy and mysterious English coast is the setting for this leisurely stroll into the supernatural as a curious team (brother and sister, do ya get that in films much?) stumble into a old unbelievable claim of the house being haunted. It can't be true, it just can't be. And that's just one reason why this is a decent flick, as it begins by embracing the doubt we all feel when the subject of ghosts come up ... before a slow descent into unknown territory. The thing moves right along too, w/o the draggy feel films this old usually have, and though the script is convoluted it ties together at the end okay. Wait for the twist, it's pretty good.
July 19, 2015
The Uninvited is a great haunted house movie from the 40's that understands what modern horror films don't... that what you don't see is scarier than what you do.
June 29, 2015
A haunted mansion is bought buy a brother and sister, and they soon discover it has a ghost with a connection to the young woman the brother is falling for. I loved the old style ghost effects, but the movie was never terribly creepy enough for me. It wasn't terrible, but it had good moments and some great classic optical effects.
April 22, 2015
This is a great motion picture, many have already described the plot, and so I will instead offer some trivia. Some might be concerned about certain scenes that depict evil, but the ending delivers us from such uninvited matters. The song Stella by Starlight was highly acclaimed, and later sung by Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, and Tony Bennett. Stella was played by Gail Russell, her song was composed by Victor Young, and Gail Russell and Victor Young both happened to be born in Chicago. This story came from a novel by Dorothy Macardle. Eamon de Valera and Dorothy Macardle worked closely together in creating modern Ireland. Eamon de Valera was of mixed Irish and Spanish background. The two lady ghosts in the house were still in competition, and one was English, the other was Spanish, and in the end, the Spanish lady was in the right, and the English lady was in the wrong. Finally, the lead character in the movie, although living in England, had an Irish last name, Fitzgerald. So, Dorothy Macardle expressed herself as she thought proper.

Hold on, could there be an allegory here? The title of the novel by Dorothy Macardle is Uneasy Freehold, and so could this represent the Irish Free State, which, under a certain treaty, wasn't quite so free? Continuing, perhaps Stella Meredith was, allegorically, Ireland, the role of Mary Meredith stood for Michael Collins and his treaty, and the role of Carmel stood for Eamon de Valera, born in New York City, and, like poor Carmel's offspring until Paris registration, the Greeks have a word for it, nothos.

This is a great motion picture, many have already described the plot, and so I will instead offer some trivia. Some might be concerned about certain scenes that depict evil, but the ending delivers us from such uninvited matters. The song Stella by Starlight was highly acclaimed, and later sung by Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, and Tony Bennett. Stella was played by Gail Russell, her song was composed by Victor Young, and Gail Russell and Victor Young both happened to be born in Chicago. This story came from a novel by Dorothy Macardle. Eamon de Valera and Dorothy Macardle worked closely together in creating modern Ireland. Eamon de Valera was of mixed Irish and Spanish background. The two lady ghosts in the house were still in competition, and one was English, the other was Spanish, and in the end, the Spanish lady was in the right, and the English lady was in the wrong. Finally, the lead character in the movie, although living in England, had an Irish last name, Fitzgerald. So, Dorothy Macardle expressed herself as she thought proper.

Hold on, could there be an allegory here? The title of the novel by Dorothy Macardle is Uneasy Freehold, and so could this represent the Irish Free State, which, under a certain treaty, wasn't quite so free? Continuing, perhaps Stella Meredith was, allegorically, Ireland, the role of Mary Meredith stood for Michael Collins and his treaty, and the role of Carmel stood for Eamon de Valera, born in New York City, and, like poor Carmel's offspring until Paris registration, the Greeks have a word for it, nothos.

Now for some more trivia. The title of the book was changed from Uneasy Freehold to The Uninvited, and it is now in demand. Older copies are quite rare, and those who are willing to sell their personal copies are asking rather high prices. An ersatz version of this book, somehow called a "play" is out there, so you have to be careful and not be fooled by booksellers. Two changes were made going from the book to the movie. The name of the house was changed from Cliff's End to Windward, and Commander Brooke became Commander Beech. A Llewellyn Meredith was the husband of Mary, nee Beech, and his background was Welsh. Thus, Stella Meredith was half Welsh and half Spanish. Commander Beech and Miss Holloway were thereby disappointed that there was not a drop of English blood in her, but they nevertheless eventually brought her up as English as best they could. The full name of the model who worked for Llewellyn Meredith was Carmel Casada. Dorothy Macardle passed away fourteen years after this motion picture was released, in 1958, and so she apparently approved of the song Stella by Starlight composed by Victor Young. Actress Gail Russell died three years later in 1961.
April 8, 2015
Wonderful old movie, worth watching!
½ February 25, 2015
good acting particularly Gail Russell. terrific score as well. not quite as scary as i was hoping althought a couple scenes were pretty eery
½ December 31, 2014
A true classic of early haunted house cinema, The Uninvited features the always awesome Ray Milland in a film that blends character development, humor, and drama together with atmospheric creepiness to create a true classic of the genre.
½ November 16, 2014
Everyone in the village knows the house is strange.

A composer and his sister buy a beautiful mansion overlooking the coast. They hear rumors in town that the house is haunted but they don't believe them; however, when they start hearing strange things in the night and experiencing strange things around the house, they might change their minds.

"It was like a mist. A crawling mist."

Lewis Allen, director of Decisions at Midnight; Whirlpool; Another Time, Another Place; Illegal; Suddenly; Chicago Deadline; Desert Fury, and The Unseen, deliver The Uninvited. The storyline for this picture if fairly straightforward and cliché, but well executed for the era. The acting was very good but the ghosts themselves were non-existent. The cast delivers solid performances and includes Ray Milland, Ruth Hussey, Donald Crisp, and Alan Napier.

"Animals see the blasted things, it appears."

I grabbed this off Turner Classic Movies (TCM) this Halloween season. I always love DVR'ing these classics (though I missed too many of them this year) and this was a fairly good piece. I enjoyed the interactions between brother and sister and also thought the film was clever with its minimal special effects (i.e. none). Overall, this is worth a viewing but far from a classic.

"It's coming from downstairs."
"It sounds heartbroken."

Grade: C+/B-
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