The Invitation is a 2015 horror/thriller film directed by Karyn Kusama, written by Phil Hay and Matt Manfredi and starring the handsome Logan-Marshall Green, Tammy Blanchard, Michiel Huisman and Emayatzy Corinealdi.
The premise of the film is relatively simple, Will (Logan) is heading to his ex-wife’s glamorous house in the Hollywood Hills, with his new girlfriend Kira. Will’s ex-wife, Eden, has invited them and a group of their close friends to a dinner party hosted by her and her new husband, David.
Immediately the film sets up tension by creating the possibility of awkwardness as this is not just a normal dinner party with friends, this is a dinner party with your ex-wife, her new husband, and your new girlfriend. Things are bound to be a little…strange. And we aren’t the only ones who sense the strangeness of the situation before it even really begins. Will is immediately on edge entering the house, and understandably so when we are told other events that have happened in the house and in his marriage with Eden.
What I found really engaging about this film is the ‘Dinner Party’ setting. A setting sometimes used by dramas and horror films, one of my favorites being Coherence a science-fiction thriller that just has to be experienced. The setting of a dinner party is the perfect enclosed space for tension…and of course, for things to very quickly go wrong. When there’s a lot of people in an enclosed space, alcohol, perhaps people are slightly nervous if they’ve not met everyone there before. It’s really a great, simple and effective setting that I don’t think films use enough.
Anyway, as things progress, Will continues to get more and more…suspicious of Eden and David, the things happening in the house, and the ‘religion’ or lifestyle program their suddenly apart of. However the rest of the guests feel Will is overreacting, and begins to make everyone feel uncomfortable. Eventually things progress as the rest of the guests realize that Will was right all along; Eden and David are apart of some sort of cult and plan to kill all of the guests, including themselves, as some sort of sacrifice or way of achieving eternal life.
I found the ‘cult’ story line predictable and disappointing. Throughout the film there were hints towards the fact Eden and David were likely in a cult, but I assumed the film was going to have a clever twist and flip the story line completely. However the film took a very predictable twist and became a typical horror film where characters act in the stereotypical horror film ways, not grabbing a weapon when they had opportunity to do so, not making logical choices that would lead them to safety and instead get themselves into more trouble.
The end of the film is however a twist on the usual, self-contained horror films including a cult. I won’t spoil the very ending for everyone, but it was quite interesting…if a little too late to make any real impact to the film overall.
Personally I feel like the film could have made a better attempt to be original and unique and use the interesting aspects it set up to lead to something more unexpected, like something involving aliens, vampires, or something even more strange. Personally I just find the whole cult thing a little tired.
Overall The Invitation was an interesting film, with engaging aspects and well acted characters. The film had a captivating and tense build up that ultimately fell flat at the end, but is a good watch if you enjoy films about weird cults and even weirder people.
PsychoCinderella’s Rating – 3/5