Directed by Karyn Kusama
The atmospheric thriller, “The Invitation”, deserves to be seen, especially for its frenzied final part and twisted conclusion.
The story, written by Phil Hay and Matt Manfredi, was slowly cooked by the director, Karyn Kusama (“Girlfight”, “Aeon Flux”, “Jennifer’s Body”), who plays with overwhelming silences, inquisitive looks, and acute expressions of preoccupation and pain, observed on the faces of the diversified characters.
Ten years ago, the same screenwriters and the director had worked together in the obnoxious “Aeon Flux”. Their recent collaboration shows a considerable increase of maturity in their working processes.
Logan Marshall-Green was effective when playing the central character, Will, an agitated yet cautious man who’s still in a process of healing from an inexorable trauma related to the death of his son. Strangely, Will and his sympathetic girlfriend, Kira (Emayatzy Corinealdi), received an unlikely invitation from his visibly disturbed ex-wife, Eden (Tammy Blanchard), and her cynical new husband, David (Michiel Huisman), for a reunion of friends in their secure house located in the Hollywood Hills. This residence belonged to Will and Eden and was exactly here that, two years before, an unclear accident took the life of their little boy.
Among the long-time friends, who didn’t see one another since the accident, two new faces were invited. Sadie (Lindsay Burdge), a tactless girl they met in Mexico, and Pruitt (John Carroll Lynch), a cunning storyteller, are nothing less than creepy in their words and behavior, making Will wonder about the real reason for the dinner party. Some other determining aspects, which served to magnify his suspicion and also to make us guess what would come next, includes the watching of an improper video along with the repetitive use of words like freedom, pain, belief, and cure, as part of the odd conversations.
Moving forward in a controlled, unhurried pace, the film withheld the most gripping scenes for the last 20 minutes, where the panic and the horror filled the well-suited bloody scenes.
This probably sounds ironic, but the helpless Will is going to carry, not just one, but two traumas for life.
“The Invitation” managed to be occasionally disconcerting, haunting us with a dusky creepiness, and responding decently to the expectations. However, it’s not less true that we're before a smart manipulation that would be better considered if less revealing.