Want to know if you should RSVP with a “Will attend” for The Invitation?
Karyn Kusama is back with her new slow burn thriller horror The Invitation, backed by Gamerchanger Films, who finances indie movies directed by women.
The film opens with a critical sensation of anxiety. We meet Will, a man of very few words, regretful eyes and a face full of hair. He is accompanied by his soft spoken girlfriend Kira. The two drive to the Hollywood posh hills for a gathering held in Will’s previous home. The gathering is being thrown by Will’s ex-wife Eden and her new husband David. Just as the two are making their way to this dinner party, Will’s car abruptly hits a coyote. To put the wounded animal out of its misery, Will bashes it with a tire iron.
Although Will and Kira are shaken, the two reach their destination and are affectionately welcomed by David and friends whom Will hasn’t seen in two years. When Will sees Eden with her crimson lips and white long gown clutched to her body, he looks a bit uncomfortable. Although it’s been two years since the two have seen each other, Eden looks like a completely different person.
As moments pass, everyone seems to be comfortable, except Will. Upon arriving, Will notices a woman that he has never seen before. His spots her down a hallway almost naked. A brief time later, the same woman arrives clothed and introduces herself as Sadie. She reeks of crazy. Just before they can begin the party games, the last guest Pruitt arrives. This is strange because Will thought it was a reunion of old friends, specifically his old friends who are in their mid 30s and chic. Sadie and Pruitt simply do not fit in; however, David and Eden explain that they met the two in Mexico while learning how to deal with trauma.
David brings out his laptop to show his guest pretty much a cult enrollment video which ends disturbing rather than inspiring. From then on, Will is very observant of his two hosts, along with Sadie and Pruitt. Will even tries to warn his friends but they’re too busy enjoying the free, “They’re a little weird but this is L.A,” says one of the friends.
Although it’s hard, I will abstain from letting the cat out of the bag with this film in hopes of you checking it out. The director really knows how to keep her viewers guessing throughout the film, mainly about Will. Is he simply paranoid or is there something truly sinister going on? The actor’s performances are pleasing to watch. It’s refreshing to see diversity within the cast. There were even multiracial couples which was awesome to see. The characters are adults in their mid 30s and it’s not a drag to watch. It’s still enjoyable. Has anyone noticed that a lot of horror films rely of teenagers or college students in order for it to be entertaining? No? Just me? Ok. The cinematography is very intimate and highly compelling with a gripping hair ripper of an outcome. My only complaint is that due to the slow pacing, I found myself overly focused on the smaller things as well as hints just so I could grasp what was going on.
The Invitation is a dinner party from hell best served by watching it urgently. Overall, I highly recommend The Invitation for its clever pacing and intense situations.
The Invitation is playing in select theaters and available on VOD.