Review: The Invitation (2016)

Dir. by: Karyn KusamaThe-Invitation-Poster-Large_1200_1744_81_s
Starring: Logan Marshall-Green, Tammy Blanchard, Emayatzy Corinealdi, Michiel Huisman
Release Date: April 8, 2016

When it comes to parties, I don’t understand the appeal. I mean, you’re surrounded by a bunch of people, your hosts are too busy hosting and you just want to find a place where you can be by yourself and not talk to anybody. Well, imagine if this party was being thrown by your ex-wife and her new husband at the house where you experienced the worst trauma of your life and something’s not quite right.

What’s it about?
Will (Marshall-Green) and his new girlfriend (Corinealdi) attend a dinner party at his former home. While dealing with the emotions seeing his home brings up, he starts to believe that his hosts, Eden and David (Blanchard and Huisman), may have more sinister intentions than just sharing a few glasses of wine.

Here’s the Trailer:

What did I think?
The Invitation starts off like any other party horror film, with the main characters driving in. Set in Los Angeles, the house is, of course, separated from the street by a gate, as most houses here are. This gives the audience the feeling that the guests are locked in while the rest of the world is locked out. Being locked in is a very big aspect of the film, as they mention it many times. It adds tremendously to the suspense.

The characters are interesting and funny. I found that my friend and I were the only people who were laughing in the theater. Lines like “This is LA, everyone’s weird” were really what set us off. We live in LA, we’ve experienced how true that statement is. Really, we just enjoyed how the characters interacted with each other. This was a group of friends who were seeing each other for the first time after two years. Laughs were had by all, not just us.

The cinematography was beyond amazing for an indie film. The way the visual effects mirrored what was happening in Will’s head – flashbacks, overwhelming emotions, etc – was just phenomenal. It really helped me, as an audience member, get to know this character much better. I wanted to cry for him, look out for him. I was afraid for his safety, which is really what horror is all about.

The actors all did a great job. The film dealt heavily with loss, paranoia and holding onto the past, which could be seen through the actors’ portrayal of their characters. Blanchard and Huisman played off each other extremely well while Marshall-Green excelled as the suspicious loner type. I would have liked to see more interaction between Kira (Corinealdi) and each of the characters. She’s sort of just there – Will’s accessory – and I would have liked to see her character fleshed out a bit more.

Do I recommend it?
If you can find it at a theater near you, go for it. It’s indie horror at its finest. It reminded me of quite a few of my favorite films – Truth or DieHouse on Haunted Hill (the original), Knock Knock – but still managed to be original. It’s definitely worth checking out.


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