Film Review: The Invitation

Posted in Reviews, Top Stories by - April 08, 2016
Film Review: The Invitation

The Invitation forces your senses to battle, constantly questioning what the right path of action might be, and creating distrust within your judgement. 

One of the worlds true evils are cults. We’re talking about an evil that compromises a human beings mind, taking control of their thoughts and actions. Generally, cults pray on the emotionally vulnerable, however, people who would be considered stable by all accounts have been known to be corruptible by the most evil of cults. This is why we fear them, why we fear ways of thinking that may not cause any harm, such as socialism and communism. We’re afraid of becoming something we don’t want to be. We have no confidence in our ability to fend off this type of evil, or our ability to even recognize it. In The Invitation, Drafthouse Films captures that pure evil. Assuming you’ve not heard about this film, or watch a trailer, you would be likely unsure of what exactly is going on. You would find yourself fighting in your mind, arguing as to whether these are nice people, or an evil cult. 

We begin The Invitation by being introduced to Will(Logan Marshall-Green), a well balanced man haunted by the death of his son and subsequent fleeing of his wife, of whom he is about to attend a dinner party of hers; and Kira(Emayatzy Corinealdi), Will’s now girlfriend, who seems lovely and supportive of Will’s mourning and recovery.  The couple arrives at the dinner party, reuniting with many old friends, most of which are in a wonderful mood and expecting a great night. You get the sense something is off right away, with the party hosts, David(Michiel Huisman) and Eden(Tammy Blanchard), coming off as creepy and off balance. The night progresses and things begin to unfold that make both the characters in the film and the viewer more and more uncomfortable. Writers Phil Hay and Matt Manfredi do an excellent job not giving too much away too soon, because other than it being the point of the movie, you’re still not convinced there is anything all that strange about what is going on.  The odd behavior and weird mannerisms are simply not enough to scare you, but you’re going to feel restless the entire length of the film. The night continues to unravel and we get closer to finding out what is really going on, but I certainly won’t spoil that for you. 

The plot takes a good while to develop, which is my one main disappointment with this narrative. The buildup is heavy and tiresome, and then the part you’ve anticipated feels rushed. I’d liken it to taking your time to make the perfect sandwich, and as you’re walking to set it down on the table you trip, and it all goes to shit. You can’t eat that sandwich any longer, and you were desperately looking forward to it. The Invitation was going to be perfect. The film isn’t long by any standards, a mere 100 minutes, well below the standard 120 minute feature. Those extra 20 minutes could have made this film outstanding.  Instead, we’re given roughly 85 minutes of build up, and 15 minutes of actual thrill. My rant about the last bit of the film aside, Director Karyn Kusama shows brilliant work with this film, her best work so far in my opinion, and that includes credits such as “The L Word”, and “Girlfight”. In addition to that,  to put it short, the cinematography and sound of the film are outstanding, simply cannot be better. 

The Invitation is going to be a great film, you’re going to love it. My suggestion to this all would be to go in blind, don’t watch the trailer, don’t read any spoilers, allow yourself to be completely immersed in the dinner party, to get the full effect. Don’t even read this review, if you’ve skipped to the bottom to see my final opinion. Drafthouse Films continue to produce films that are changing the game, and I’m excited for what’s to come.

Official Trailer:


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