In The Uninvited, horror is not a series of scares, but a tone and mood writ between the imagery and Victor Young’s carefully pitched score; the title might suggest danger, but, instead, it sucks us deeper inside. We always look closer when staring into the dark.
The Uninvited, through an adroit counterpointing, syncopating, and cumulation [sic] of the natural and the supernatural, turns a mediocre story and a lot of shabby clichés into an unusually good scare-picture. It seems to me harder to get a fright than a laugh, and I experienced thirty-five first-class jolts, not to mention a well-calculated texture of minor frissons.
Allen's sparse compositional sense and carefully choreographed sequences of verbally fueled dramatics—both perhaps inherited from his time as a theater director—emphasize space, depth, and the blocking of the actors within otherwise architecturally elaborate frames. The film (incredibly enough, Allen's first as a feature filmmaker) is, above all, an aesthetic wonder.