May 19, 2016


REVIEW: The Invitation

“The Invitation” to a dinner party that serves up a plateful of foreboding that has you at the edge of your seat, wondering ‘do I want to stay for dessert?’ and the answer is ‘yes’.

The premise itself offers uneasiness as the film centers around Will—a divorced man who gets an invitation to a dinner party hosted by his ex-wife and her new husband. And if that’s not uncomfortable enough for our hero, throw in the fact that he hadn’t seen her in two years. So they clearly weren’t close after the break up. This is sure to be one interesting get together.

However, there is a small reprieve in all this. He won’t be alone with them. Several of his friends also got an invitation. So it was like a reunion of sorts. Except for the new husband and the two weird strangers that had befriended his ex-wife during the past two years. Of course, Will goes albeit reluctantly but brings his girlfriend with him for support.

This sets the stage for a compelling night as we watch Will emotionally break down from memories that permeate his mind, which are shown to us in flashbacks. He descends into some kind of neurosis worsened by the confines of that house.

Depression fills his mind and as the night goes on he has an internal sense that things aren’t right. His ex-wife is acting strangely to him. And her husband and those two strangers he just met seem questionable.

Paranoia and mistrust sets in. And director Karyn Kusama brilliantly used the color schemes of the house to feed into our own anxiety. The walls are muted shades of brown mixed with shadows and dim lighting that generate a haunting effect. And what began as a sense of calm and coziness morphed into uneasiness as the night went on.

There’s an unnerving contrast from Will’s suspicious nature to that of his friend’s joyfulness and with that of his ex-wife’s pleasantness. He can’t relate to any of this and turns himself into an outsider.

And we the viewer follow him unsure of what is really going on. Is something sinister going on? Or is Will an unreliable narrator? Either way there is a sense of dread festering in every scene.

And so the journey builds, creating a roller coaster ride of emotions. Though it does feel like it goes on a tad too long at one point but course corrects itself.

Sometimes a thriller like this leaves me unsatisfied, unable to close out. But that wasn’t the case here. “The Invitation” ended on a high note.

Score: 8/10


About Lisa

Passionate about movies and writing. Hopes to someday be a published writer. So when she's not staring at the tube, she's spilling her imagination onto a blank page.

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