The Invitation (2015)

The Invitation
Director: Karyn Kusama
Writer: Phil HayMatt Manfredi
Cast: Logan Marshall-GreenEmayatzy CorinealdiTammy BlanchardMichiel HuismanJohn Carroll LynchLindsay BurdgeMike DoyleKarl YuneMichelle KrusiecMarieh DelfinoJordi VilasusoDanielle CamastraJay LarsonToby Huss
Part of: /slash Filmfestival
Seen on: 17.9.2015
[Reviews by cornholio and Maynard.]

Plot:
Will (Logan Marshall-Green) and Edie (Tammy Blanchard) used to be happy. But after their son died, their relationship fell apart. Edie began dating David (Michiel Huisman) and then disappeared for two years. But now Edie and David are back and have invited all of their old friends to a dinner party, including Will and his new girlfriend Kira (Emayatzy Corinealdi). It’s weird coming back together like that, but there is something even weirder going on with Edie and David and the young woman (Lindsay Burdge) who seems to live with them now.

The Invitation doesn’t exactly tell a revolutionary, unforeseeable story. But it is so beautifully executed that I didn’t mind that for a single second. In fact, the old plot just emphasizes how good the rest of the film is.

invitation

The Invitation starts with a group of people who haven’t seen each other in a long time, but who used to be extremely close. The group isn’t small, but both script and cast create distinct characters with just a few strokes that are easily remember and very distinct from each other (something that The Hobbit utterly failed to do with the dwarves, for example). Even more than that, you not only get very different personalities, you also get very different relationships that all those characters have with each other and that feel utterly real. You can feel the old closeness just waiting to spring into action again, but you can also see the fault lines where the whole thing fell apart.

That alone would have probably been interesting enough to fill the film and the evening for me, but it didn’t have to be enough. Despite the fact that I realized where the plot would be headed rather early on in the film, Kusama manages to build up tension incredibly well and there wasn’t a second where I wasn’t paying close attention to the goings-on in the film.

invitation1There are missteps in the film. I’m still uncertain about the ending and whether it was too much or not. The lack of cell phone coverage was also a little too convenient. The locking of the front door was a little too on the nose. But these are minor things in a movie that is for the most part intricately crafted. Especially the cinematography was a thing of beauty.

Thus The Invitation becomes an engaging and intriguing film with a stellar cast, incredible tension and a surprising amount of warmth and general emotional core for a (horror) thriller. What’s not to love about that?

invitation2Summarizing: Watch it.

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