Wednesday, April 13, 2016

[Review] The Invitation

Doesn't it seem like a lot of movies are titled with the word "Invitation," or various forms of it? There are a few within the horror/suspense genre alone. And the slow-burning, tension-filled gathering in a single location is practically a subgenre of its own now--the dinner disaster. That's exactly the case with this year's modern as hell VOD release, The Invitation.

It's good not to know much past the initial premise, so I'll keep the plot details to a minimum here. Basically, a group of thirty-somethings (some of them are old friends) all show up to a social event in the Hollywood hills. And that's where I'll end it. Told you I wouldn't give away too much.

Between the dimly lit home, the eerie music, and the suspicious characters (including the occasional weirdo), it's safe to say that the vibes just aren't right at this party. The film steps at a deliberate and quiet pace, but the conversations go beyond small talk. The interactions between the attendees ever-so subtly hint at torn pasts, veiled secrets, and bad intentions. In other words, you know that ish is going to hit the fan eventually. Dread and paranoia pour in like a fine red wine--for the characters, as well as the audience, and we question which situations actually warrant it or not.

The lengthy introduction and mundanities might be off-putting for some viewers, and there comes a point in the film where you can guess what's going to happen, but it's still a matter of exactly why and how it goes down. Director Karyn Kusama's craft at building tension and playing with POV is something to appreciate, and when the climax does indeed finally arrive, it does not disappoint.

If The Invitation sounds enticing to you, then you'd better RSVP.


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