The Invitation: A Dinner Party With a Side of Cult
What I like about The Invitation is I knew where it was going, but its destination was way better than unexpected. This little horror(ish) film takes its time and if you didn’t know about it beforehand you would expect this is simply another good-looking people at a dinner party film (is that a genre?). Director Karyn Kusama has made a film that delivers one of the best horror endings I’ve seen in years. She builds slowly and confidently and trusts her leading man Logan Marshall-Green to deliver a subtle performance that blends sadness, paranoia, anger and a great beard.
The film opens with Will (Logan Marshall-Green) and his wife Kira (Emayatzy E. Corinealdi) heading to a dinner party thrown by his ex-wife Eden (Tammy Blanchard) and her partner David (Michiel Huisman). Eden and David have just come back from Mexico and they are hosting an “invitation” for a group of their closest friends. In Mexico, Eden and David joined a cult and they open up the gathering with a creepy video of a woman dying. The members of the dinner party are thrown by the video, but any skepticism is washed away by great booze and food. Nobody seems to notice the strange goings-on except for Will who picks up on random clues and is justifiably concerned that Eden and David invited a squirrely woman named Sadie (Lindsay Budge) and the creepy guy from Zodiac (John Carroll Lynch) over for dinner as well. As the old friends reunite everything gets weird and we left wondering where it is all headed.
The Invitation is told from Will’s uneven perspective and his paranoia begins to get the better of him. He is still reeling from the loss of his child and he begins to see things that may not be there. The film builds to a bloody conclusion that isn’t drawn out and plays realistic in the sense that nobody in this situation would know what to do. I don’t want to go any further into the plot but consider it something along the lines of The Sacrament meeting Coherence.
Movies like The Invitation are rare because they ask a lot of the viewer. In order to fully appreciate it you need to immerse yourself in it to get the full-effect. I totally recommend you check it out and embrace the dinner party shenanigans.