The Invitation (2016)

The Invitation is a horror film for grown ups. Mixing horror, mystery and drama, this highly effective confined chiller walks between the line of suspicion and paranoia in a haze of rich atmospheric tension.

Set during a mysterious reunion among old friends, Will (Logan Marshall-Green) believes that there is something not quite right occurring, and that his ex-wife and her new husband have sinister intentions for their guests.

Karyn Kusama’s The Invitation is a profound film about grief and recovery, wrapped as a psychological thriller. The majority of the film overwhelmingly plays on your imagination, we are constantly second guessing ourselves as to what is actually happening. The slow simmering tension builds on social awkwardness and suffocating anxiety, the film always feels like it is one step away from undeniable horror.

Marshall-Green does a terrific job of making us feel his loss as well as anger, as we are slowly dripped his tragic backstory – that Will and now ex-wife Eden (Tammy Blanchard) were once a loving couple that split after the death of their young son. The dramatic emphasis of The Invitation is less on what happened in the past, and more on what’s transpiring in the present. Will is unable to understand the evenings purpose and struggles with accepting Eden’s newfound happiness. Is there some menacing motivation behind the gathering? Or is Will’s still present grief and unacceptance twisting his reality into doubt and distrust?

The Invitation is a serious slow burner, for some viewers in may be too slow and without a worthy payoff. With deep admiration The Invitation is a refreshing step into the darker genre, with a final act that doesn’t descend too heavily into madness and is grounded with realistic action. Lastly, leaving you with a closing scene that is as clever as it is unnerving.

8.5 / 10

“Something doesn’t feel safe here”  

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