The Uninvited Ending, Explained: Does Anna Stop Rachel? Is Alex Dead?

‘The Uninvited’ is a 2009 psychological horror film directed by the Guard Brothers. The movie is a remake of the 2003 South Korean film ‘A Tale of Two Sisters,’ which is based on a Korean folk tale. It tells the story of Anna Ivers, a young girl who returns home after serving time in a mental institution. However, disturbing visions of her mother’s death lead Anna to seek revenge, which plunges her family into chaos and violence. How Anna’s quest for revenge ends and its implications for her family form the ending of  ‘The Uninvited.’ SPOILERS AHEAD!

The Uninvited Plot Synopsis

‘The Uninvited’ follows Anna Ivers (Emily Browning), a teenager who returns home from a party after a disagreement with her crush, Matt. Anna’s mother is terminally sick and lives in a boat house over a lake near the family’s house. However, the house implodes due to a fire, killing Anna’s mother. The story shifts a few months ahead as Anna recuperates at a psychiatric institution, having tried to die through suicide after her mother’s death. After Anna narrates a recollection of the events leading up to her mother’s death, Dr. Silberling clears her to return home. Anna reunites with her father, Steven Ivers (David Strathairn), who picks her up.

After returning home, Anna learns that her mother’s live-in nurse, Rachel Summers (Elizabeth Banks), is dating her father and has moved into their house. Anna also reunites with her older sister, Alex (Arielle Kebbel), but the latter quickly becomes upset when she learns that Anna did not receive any of her letters. Meanwhile, Rachel attempts to form a friendly relationship with Anna, while Anna suspects her involvement in her mother’s death. Anna experiences nightmares which point to foul play in her mother’s death. She tells Alex about her suspicions of Rachel, and the two sisters quickly believe that Rachel is trying to rip their family apart.

During a visit to the boat house, Anna meets Matt, who wants to tell her something about the night her mother died. However, they are interrupted by Rachel. When Anna travels to the town, she sets up a meeting with Matt to learn the truth. However, Matt never shows up to the meeting spot. Anna has a nightmare about Matt’s death. The following morning, Matt’s dead body is discovered near the lake. Anna and Alex suspect Rachel of killing Matt, as he likely knew the truth about her involvement in their mother’s death. When the girls investigate Rachel’s past, she threatens to send Anna back to the psychiatric institution. After Steve leaves the town for a work meeting, the sisters decide to expose Rachel once and for all.

The Uninvited Ending: Does Anna Stop Rachel? Is Alex Dead?

After going through Rachel’s past, the girls learn that she has changed her name. Anna and Alex do some digging and discover a news article about Mildred Kemp, a nanny who killed the children she was hired to care for after becoming romantically obsessed with their widowed father. Thus, Anna and Alex believe that Rachel is actually Mildred Kemp, who was never caught by the police. When their father leaves town for business, the sisters plan to gather evidence against Rachel and contact the police to stop her from destroying their family. However, Rachel learns of their plot and drugs Alex.

Anna escapes the house and reaches the police station, where she shares her theory and evidence – the pearl necklace belonging to Mildred – with Sheriff Emery. While Sheriff Emery promises to help Anna, she is found by Rachel, who drugs her. Anna is brought back home, where Rachel prepares to kill her. However, as Anna passes out, Alex attacks Rachel with a knife. When Anna wakes up, she finds Alex has murdered Rachel and dumped the body. Steven returns home and finds the girls covered in blood. Anna explains that Rachel tried to kill her and Alex. However, Steven reminds Anna that Alex died with her mother in the fire. Alex disappears, revealing Anna had been hallucinating her sister all along. Anna’s memories come rushing back, and she finally remembers what happened that fateful night.

How Did Anna’s Mother Die? What Happens to Anna?

During the climax, Anna’s memories about the night her mother died finally return. She remembers that after returning from the party, she entered her house only to hear strange noises coming from her father’s room. Anna witnessed Steven having sex with Rachel while her sick mother was all alone in the boat house. Consequently, Anna went to the boat house and collected gasoline from a tap in a water can. She planned to burn down the house with her father and Rachel. However, Alex arrived, and the sisters argued. Anna left the tap slightly unopen, and a candle fell over the gasoline stream, igniting the house.

While Alex tended to her mother, Anna left the house moments before it imploded. As a result, Anna’s mother and sister both died in the fire, leaving her with overwhelming guilt, which likely manifested as a hallucination of Alex. On a subconscious level, Anna blames Rachel for destroying her family. Thus, these feelings manifest as nightmares that suggest Rachel was involved in her mother’s death. Ultimately, Anna is sent back to the psychiatric institution, where she tells Dr. Silberling that she has finished what she started. Thus, it is implied that Anna was at least subconsciously aware of the circumstances leading up to her mother’s death. As a result, she targeted Rachel since she only remembered seeing her have an affair with her father, sparking the incident that led to her accidentally killing her mother and sister.

Who Is Mildred Kemp?

After digging through, Rachel’s past, Anna learns that she has changed her name. Anna believes that Rachel is Mildred Kemp, a nanny who killed her wards. However, this is proven untrue in the final moments when Steven confirms that he knew Rachel had changed her name. She had an abusive ex-boyfriend who beat her up. Therefore, she changed her name to stop him from following her. During the movie’s closing moments, Anna returns to the psychiatric institution, where she is reunited with her ward neighbor. Her neighbor has the pearl necklace, which leads to Anna suspecting Rachel of being Mildred Kemp.

The final scene shows the nameplate on the neighbor’s ward, revealing she is the real Mildred. Thus, it is implied that Anna had heard Mildred’s story, and her psychotic condition led to her imagining Mildred’s story around Rachel using her family as a proxy. The revelation of Mildred strongly hints that Anna has a psychotic condition or mental illness that stems from incidents that predate her mother’s death. However, her mother’s death proves to be the catalyst that drives Anna over the edge. Moreover, the similarities between Mildred and Rachel result in Anna targeting her father’s new girlfriend through the fear of destroying her family, which Anna is responsible for. As a result, the story comes full circle leaving viewers with the realization Anna is responsible for destroying her family, willingly or unwillingly.

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