The Uninvited

Interior designer Jung-won is about to be dragged into marriage by his lovely, but somewhat persistent fiancée Hee-eun. Riding home on the train one day, he sees something strange. A woman enters the train with two kids. He falls asleep during the ride, and when he wakes up the train has reached the final destination and he must hurry out before the doors close. Just as the train leaves he notices that the two kids are still on the train. They are sitting right where their mother placed them, and it looks as if they are sleeping.

Jung-won thinks nothing of it, but when he spends the night alone in the new apartment, he suddenly sees the two kids sitting dead at his dinner table. Thinking that he’s losing his mind Jung-won flees.

Later Jung-won meets the woman Yun who suffers from narcolepsy, a disease that causes her to fall asleep suddenly. When Jung-won learns more about this woman, he realises that she can see the ghosts of the two kids. He pursues her in an effort to discover whether she’s “for real”.

Jung-won neglects his job and his wife and grows increasingly infatuated with Yun, but both of them has gruesome secrets buried in their past. Secrets that should be left alone...


“The Uninvited” has been promoted as a horror/mystery thriller. That’s an unfair description. Instead the film is an achingly slow-moving drama with a few thriller elements. But really, the drama is the focus here. To elaborate: calling “The Uninvited” a horror/mystery thriller is a bit like calling “Ring” a film about journalism. It’s not completely wrong, but it’s definitely misleading.

As a drama “The Uninvited” works very well, specially once Jung-won makes his connection with Yun. It’s easy to identify with Jung-won who, in Yun, finds someone who can understand what he’s going through and who doesn’t judge him.

Technically the film is superb. The cinematography is beautiful, and while it may not be unique, it’s so consistently pleasing to the eye that I just couldn’t help falling in love with it (helped by a truly stunning DVD transfer). Sudden bursts of handheld photography, none more effective than the first time Jung-won spots the ghostly kids, also provide some great moments. And wait till you see the impressive finale. It almost took my breath away.

In the end the film probably works best if you see it with low or no expectations. One thing’s for sure: If you see it, expecting it to be another “Tale of Two Sisters” or “Ju-on” or whatever your pleasure in horrors films is, you’ll be thoroughly disappointed, and that would be a shame. “The Uninvited” deserves better.
David Bjerre
March 28, 2004

Original Title
4 Inyong shiktak
South Korea
Lee Soo-youn
Park Shin-Yang
- Hi Darma (2001)
- Indian Summer (2001)
- Kilimanjaro (2000)
Jun Ji-hyun
- My Sassy Girl (2001)
Il Mare (2000)
DVD Availability
Available on DVD from YesAsia: