The Invitation (2016)


If you want something tense and eerily unsettling then this is the right film to go to on your Netflix scrolling binge. I say this because I found it on there the other week and I’m glad to have watched it because it’s a ticking time bomb thriller.

Will (Logan Marshall-Green) is on the way to a dinner party he’s been invited to. The host is his ex-wife Eden (Tammy Blanchard) who is now with the nicey nice David (Michiel Huisman). As the night draws on and the multiple guests chat and eat, Will starts doubting the safety of the evening, believing a menacing secret to be tying them together.

The slow burning nature of this movie is incredible. A huge percentage of the run-time has characters set-up and dialogue back and forths making the whole party scenario more realistic. They tie in the bleaker, more uncomfortable feelings nicely as we stick with Will and his questioning persona on everything.

We think we know something but we’re not sure what it is. Also at times we believe something to be true and then the rug is pulled from under us making us wonder if Will is really correct in his judgemental stance on David and the two new guests in the home. The script bubbles and boils at an effective temperature and handled by director Karyn Kusama we get a neatly paced and suspicious atmosphere to nervously sit through.

It can be said also that the pacing suffers at times, as in the run-time could have been shortened. There are some flash-back moments or slower sequences that feel less attached to the slow burning flame and more a damp lull. The ending is snappy and makes the outside world more open compared to the claustrophobic feel thus far, but it’s also one that screams more typical not clever horror.

Marshall-Green is the central figure and he ensures the film goes well. He’s the heart and human point of contact for this movie and gives a watchful, quiet look on the house and people around him. Michiel Huisman is a great actor, GoT or Nashville but here he’s something much different as he delivers his odd group therapy beliefs on the narrative. John Carroll Lynch is one of the better cast members of the ensemble as he un-spoiler creeps the joint out with his appearance. Tammy Blanchard is also an intriguing figure as she plays along with David, has meaner moments but sweeter calmer times too. Every person in the film plays their part well contributing to the dinner party portrait in such a way that you feel like you’re there.

It’s most definitely best to see this feature without knowing much about it because the thrills will hit you harder. There’s chills, wine, blood and menace that teeters between normality and danger constantly.