Saturday, 17 September 2016

The Invitation

"The Invitation" (2015, Karyn Kusama, Gamechanger Films, Lege Artis, XYZ Films, Drafthouse Films).

Will (Logan Marshall-Green) and his girlfriend, Kira (Emayatzy Corinealdi), are on their way to Will's ex-wife, Eden (Tammy Blanchard)'s house for a dinner party with some old friends and Eden's new husband, David (Michiel Huisman). On the way there they accidentally run over a coyote and Will is forced to put the creature out of its misery.

Will and Eden split up after their son tragically died and Eden met David through her grief support group. Amongst other strange things at this dinner party, the old gang are joined by some of Eden and David's friends and David shows everyone a video from their grief support group where a young woman dies on screen....

Throughout the night Will begins to fear that there is something more sinister going on than just a strange dinner party, but is this fear founded in reality, or is he just feeling emotional seeing friends and Eden again and entering his old home since the death of his son...?

A slow, slow, slow burner that seems to relish in showing very little up until the end. I've seen a lot of positive things said about this film, but I don't fully share the enthusiasm. While others have remarked at an excellent build of tension, I found the plot slow and meandering. The acting is really good and the setting in the Hollywood hills is nice, too, but the film just felt too slow for me. Will's nagging feeling that something is wrong is plausible and real doubt in his instinct is well crafted by flashbacks and nice camera angles. The film is also very well shot. I just didn't feel that the quick, brutal payoff really made up for the pace of the build up.

I do appreciate the lack of usual horror tropes used in the film, however, which was a breath of freshness over some other recent horror efforts which have resulted in a lot of same-old, same-old.

[Image: Gamechanger films, et al]