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The Perfect House
Most of "The Uninvited” was shot at one location, a stunning waterfront property on British Columbia's Bowen Island, a short ferry ride west from mainland Vancouver. "Eighty percent of the story takes place at the house, so we couldn't make the movie without the right one,” says Parkes. "It couldn't have been more important. We scouted in Louisiana, an environment which is both beautiful and slightly threatening. We had two houses, which were terrible compromises, but both of them fell through. We had a difficult time finding anything that had both the connection to the story and the right logistical possibilities.

"But then we were lucky to find in Canada a place that seemed as if it had been built for our movie,” he continues. "It was perfectly evocative and suggestive of a family that is both welcoming and forbidding. The fact that the house was within 30 miles of Vancouver was a greater plus than the minus of having to get everyone on boats to get them over there; water taxis and ferries are a way of life up there. In fact, I don't remember ever having a more pleasant time on a location. Getting onto a boat and having a cup of coffee and then going up the little pier and the stairs we built, it focused us. We were isolated with one thing on our minds, which was making this movie. It was great.”

Well, most of the time. The isolation did have one drawback: last-minute changes could not always be accommodated. "There was a logistical concern,” remembers production designer Andrew Menzies. "Cell phone reception was bad there, which was a hindrance to doing our job. But you also had to embrace that because there were always what we call fires on the set, where you needed something, emergencies, and if it just couldn't be done you had to work with what you had. So, there was some creativity that came from limited choices.”

For their part, the directors didn't feel limited by the movie's location. By the time shooting had begun, notes Charles Guard, he and his brother had "been working on the project for more than a year, so we were pretty well prepared. Even when things changed at the last minute, we still had the benefit of all that preparation and were able to work around it.”

In addition, says Menzies, the location possessed a wonderfully eerie atmosphere during scouting. "When we first came here it was at the end of winter, and it had such mood because of the lower lighting. The clouds were off the coast and you couldn't see the mainland. It had this claustrophobic feeling because of the fog and the clouds and the storms coming in.”

For the interiors, however, "We wanted to create a romantic house, a feeling of warmth and history and tradition where a loving and nurtured family lived,” he continues. "This would, we hoped, emphasize to the audience a feeling this was a close family unit now being violated by Rachael (Elizabeth Banks), this outside element.”

The seeming contradiction of atmosphere dovetailed perfectly with the parallel storylines. The first is the story of a wealthy, successful writer who has fallen in love again and is feeling optimistic after a terrible tragedy. He lives in a beautiful home with an atmospheric backdrop. But Anna's story is one of confusion and deception as she finds herself returning to a haunted house set in a foreboding landscape fraught with anxiety, secrets and danger. So the mixed weather of an unseasonably wet summer in Vancouver turned out to be almost perfect for everyone concerned.

Almost perfect, yes, but not quite. The house, a multi-million dollar dream home built about six or seven years ago, was a little too new and stylish to suggest the older house of the story, with its history and potential for peril. "The owners have incredible taste,” says Parkes, "so we had to take some of the chic away. Our production desi


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