Old friends reunite at the home of an estranged member of their group, who may or may not have ulterior motives.
Directed by Karyn Kusama
Starring Logan Marshall-Green, Tammy Blanchard, and Michiel Huisman
Initial Review by Lane Davis
The film has its rough edges, for sure. While I personally enjoy slowly plotted films that take a while to develop, I could have probably found ten minutes of Will (well played by a ruggedly brooding Logan Marshall-Green) staring off into the woods/hills/dark/pool to shave off the run time without any adverse effects on the film’s tension. I also found the flashback scenes of Will and Eden’s dead son to be a little too sentimentally convenient and the resulting mixed emotions of grief and anger to be a bit overwrought for reality. Of course, maybe that’s just how people who live in Hollywood act. Who am I to judge?
The film was shot on a shoestring, which tends to eventually show up somewhere. For “The Invitation,” the corner cutting was evident here and there; especially in the early scenes of awkward socialization, I could almost hear the director’s voice saying: “Okay, act weird…good, fine…okay, we’re on a budget so do it quicker…annnddd....cut!” I wish the actors had been given a little more breathing room in those scenes, though Michiel Huisman and John Carroll Lynch make the most of what they were given.
It’s the director, Karyn Kusama that makes the film work—she’s incredibly restrained with the camera and the narrative, and it’s the little twist at the end that ties everything up in a neat, little murderous bow and that left me satisfied with the time spent in the weird world of Los Angeles dinner parties. I hope others found it as unsettlingly enjoyable as I did.