The Invitation

Difficult to say anything about this film without big SPOILER, and it’s better to see it without any prior knowledge. So don’t read on if you think you might go and see it.

This film has Will (Logan Marshall-Green) going back to the house where his son died, for a dinner party reunion with his ex wife, Eden (Tammy Blanchard) and her new partner. Old friends are there plus some new acquaintances who we learn are part of some life-affirming cult Eden and her new man have joined while in Mexico. We know it’s not going to be a party where they break out Twister when the guests are shown a recruitment video of a woman dying, surrounded by the cult members.

I don’t like dinner parties, I really wouldn’t like a dinner party full of Hollywood, middle class types. If you added in to that new age culty dippy stuff, I would have made my excuses and left early. They didn’t even have a Wii for chrissakes. But for some reason the guests stay. There is some doubt cast as to whether Will’s suspicions are just his paranoia, or if there is something more sinister circling around. The film itself circles around, at times it feels like one of those talky, middle class angst films, or a dinner party play. In that sense, the action, when it comes, is a relief. Thank God it’s not just going to be Hollywood types being self-indulgent you think.

It is a film that has a lot of confidence. There are lots of close up shots of Marshall-Green’s face, looking confused and sad. It dips towards the horror genre a couple of times and then pulls away again. It is only in the last 15 minutes or so that it becomes the home invasion (well, home lock-in) thriller you suspected it was. I admire this, so it’s worth seeing for this alone. But I didn’t enjoy it as much as others have suggested. It didn’t quite do enough to subvert the genre and for this horror fan didn’t then do enough to fulfill it. As well as all those crazy gore-fest French home invasion movies (with Ils, Inside, and High Tension the French have pretty much cornered the gory home-invasion market as if there were European subsidies on the genre), I preferred You’re Next, which is a much less classy film, but gets on with the horror early. Maybe what this film is telling us is that a dinner party is the real horror.

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