Tag Archives: The Invitation

Family Feud

The Invitation

by George Wolf

If you thought Get Out was too nuanced, Ready or Not too wickedly funny, and what they both needed was some trusty Twilight obviousness, The Invitation is waiting for you.

Nathalie Emmanuel (Some Furious films, Game of Thrones) stars as Evie, a struggling art student in NYC who takes a DNA test and finds she has some new kin overseas.

Evie lost her dad when she was just a teen, and is still hurting from her mother’s recent passing only months ago, so this news lifts her spirits enough to accept a free trip to London for a lavish new-family wedding.

The country estate reeks of wealth, and Walter, the Lord of the Manor (Thomas Doherty) is handsome and charming. Flirtations help distract Evie from the ghostly apparitions, bumps in the night, and blood sucking.

Everyone’s very interested in Evie, giving little thought to the bride and groom who seem nowhere to be found.


Director and co-writer Jessica M. Thompson borrows liberally from better films while leaning on tired devices such as red herring jump scares, waking from a nightmare, and handy clues that are nice enough to present themselves right when you need them.

But even those clues seem subtle next to the contrived exposition that takes liberties with vampire lore while it telegraphs the get out of jail free card that Thompson and co-writer Blair Butler (the dreadful Hell Fest) have for Evie. And by that time, all the character names taken from Stoker feel less like homages and more like desperation.

This invite promises only bargain-priced goth, watered-down frights and surface level commentary on classism and white privilege. The pivot from the Get Out setup to the Ready of Not revenge tour is much too long in coming, with a payoff that just isn’t worth the wait.

So wherever that bride and groom are, I bet they’re having more fun.

RSVP Required

The Invitation

by Hope Madden

Dinner parties are the worst.

This is especially true when said party is thrown by your ex and her new man in the house that used to be yours. So, why go?

Curiosity – which is what will or will not keep you invested in director Karyn Kusama’s new film The Invitation.

Will (Logan Marshall-Green) and his new girlfriend Kira (Emayatzy Corinealdi) tough it out. They drive out to the LA hills to join Will’s ex Eden (Tammy Blanchard) and all the friends Will has forgotten about since his son accidentally died in this very house a couple years back.

The party marks Eden’s return to the fold and an introduction to the new man in her life, David (Michiel Huisman), another grief survivor who, like Eden, owes his very sanity to the life-changing vision of Dr. Joseph.

Oh, God. Have they unwittingly submitted themselves to the one thing worse than a time-share opportunity gathering – a religious conversion attempt?

Kusama’s slow build mines societal tensions well. Besides the obvious ex-lover friction and the fear of cult propaganda, many in this once tight circle of friends have avoided the grief-stricken parents since the accident. It’s all very uncomfortable, though the film slowly turns the discomfort toward paranoia as Will begins to wonder where missing buddy Choi (Karl Yune) may be, why Eden has a bottle of barbiturates in her bedroom, and why David keeps all the partygoers locked inside.

Is something amiss, or is Will just dealing with those damaging issues of grief that Eden and David were able to overcome thanks to Dr. Joseph?

As The Invitation slowly evolves from tense drama to thriller to horror, Kusama is always throwing uncomfortable moments and unsettling clues at you. Were it not for the often tediously stilted dialog penned by Phil Hay and Matt Manfredi – whose track record includes the Ride Along series, if that tells you anything – The Invitation would have a consistently nightmarish, hypnotic quality that keeps you uncomfortably captive.

You know, just like that last dinner party you went to.