Uninvited, The (UK - DVD R2)
Marcus starts Halloween early with a good old fashioned ghost story on DVD
Seeking respite from the bustle of London life, writer Roderick (Ray Milland) and sister Pamela (Ruth Hussey) move into a neglected clifftop mansion. However it isn't long before an unnerving presence makes itself known and it becomes clear that the house is haunted but who is this spirit and what does she want?
The Uninvited is packed full of things modern horror just doesn't do any more. This 1944 black and white movie just lets ghosts be spooky and doesn't feel the need to have them out for scares.
This is the old school way of doing things. Mysteriously locked rooms, eerie sounds, flickering candles and shadowed rooms. There's ouija boards and dark family secrets and rather than fly off the handle the story keeps a level head and shows our modern horror characters how to hold their shit together when the the dead trouble us.
Of course the age of the film helps. There's that stiff upper lip approach to everything and the old staple of strong men protecting scared woman sensibilities but the story is solid enough for that not to feel outdated. This is simply a spooky story of a haunted house, with our cast delving into the problem and looking for ways to resolve it. Sure it's a bit twee in places(the final face off with the ghost for example) but The Uninvited was a fine first step into Halloween viewing and reminded me what's so good about an old fashioned ghost story.
For a film from 1945, this DVD is pretty good but of course, when compared to modern movies or older classics that have had a full clean up, The Uninvited suffers a bit. There's a fair bit of dirt and scratches here, as well as a slight wavering in black levels in some scenes, This offers up an almost pulsing appearance at times but given the fairly bright appearance to the coastal setting, the transfer manages to get by. The image isn't all that sharp but offers up an acceptable level of detail (when it's not softening up shots of the actresses at least) and the darker elements of the film can looking pretty effective, even with the just off of pure black appearance of the black and white film.
The mono track is a little crackly at times, especially in the opening voice over. Dialogue is clear enough and very much the focus of the track throughout and the the minimal score generally sits behind that. When the film wants to pull out a scare it shrieks up a few volume boosts here and there but it's all fairly safe in the scares department really.
In the special features selection we get the theatrical trailer, and a 'Still and Poster Gallery. For fans for the era, there's also a '1944 Radio Play' (24:42), and a '1949 Radio Play' (29:01) as well as a 24 page collectable booklet for fans of the film itself.
The Uninvited kicks off Halloween for me and it's a nice pleasant entry into classic ghost story territory. The story is one that has been told time and time again but it still works and even though the age of the film takes the edge off a bit, it's good not to have a bunch of scared teens running around getting killed for a bit of a change. Fans of the story should enjoy the disc, due to the radio plays and collectable booklet but generally fans of good old fashioned ghost stories should get a kick out of this one too, if only for the awesome spook effects.
Review by Marcus Doidge
General viewing, but some scenes may be unsuitable for young children
Release Date: 29th October 2012
Disc Type: Single side, single layer
Audio: Dolby 2.0 Mono English
Subtitles: English HOH
Extras: Trailer, Photo Gallery, 1944 Radio Play, 1949 Radio Play, 24 Page Booklet
Easter Egg: No
Director: Lewis Allen
Cast: Ray Milland, Ruth Hussey, Donald Crisp, Cornelia Otis Skinner
Genre: Drama and Thriller
Length: 94 minutes
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