The Invitation (2016)

THE_INVITATION_Poster-Final“While attending a dinner party at his former home, a man thinks his ex-wife and her new husband have sinister intentions for their guests.”

It might be easy to assume, in looking at the credits of director Karyn Kusama and writers Phil Hay and Matt Manfredi, that this movie would have been a complete mess. That said, there was no getting away from this whispers and praise that this movie was receiving during its festival run, and there was just enough of a mystery to the story, that I needed to see it. Turns out that the result of the director of Jennifer’s Body and the writers of R.I.P.D and Clash of the Titans is my favourite horror movie of 2016, so far.

The Invitation is a stunning, slow-burning, and deeply tense horror movie that is one that you need to watch. So, stop reading this, go see the movie, and come back if you want. The less you know about it, the stronger the experience is going to be. Seriously, why are you still reading this?

Alright, so let’s move on.

Perhaps most noteworthy about the film is its dynamite ensemble cast. The clear lead is Logan Marshall-Green (Prometheus) as Will, who is the ex of the party hostess. Green is solid throughout the movie, and you follow him pretty closely on his journey to figure out exactly what is going on. Rounding the cast out are excellent performances from Tammy Blanchard (Moneyball), Michiel Huisman (Wild), Lindsay Burdge (Frances Ha), and an insanely strong performance from John Carroll Lynch (Zodiac), who I now have a much stronger appreciation for as an actor. The entire bunch are very watchable and have a strong chemistry with each other, you really do get the sense that they have a deep and rich history with each other.

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The other major success this film has is its script. The slow burn, and the general unease in Will, and through the story make it impossible to look away from. You are on the same journey as Will as he tries to figure out what is going on, and deal with the same moments of self-doubt that he does. It’s an extremely tight, well-written script, with an effectively shocking payoff. It’s clear that the two writers are capable of coming up with strong scripts that really work in the hands of a strong director, which Kasuma has proven herself to be in this case.

All told, The Invitation is a staggering and genuinely creepy movie. It’s well shot, well acted, and one of the strongest pieces of horror cinema that I’ve seen this year. While I’d love to dig deeper into the story and talk more about the movie, it really wouldn’t do you any favours. All I want to say is that the movie is great, it looks great, it has great performances, and you need to just go and see it, without having it totally spoiled for you.

MY RATING: *****

 

 

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