Movie Review: THE INVITATION (2015)

What I think is lacking in modern horror movies (other than originality) is raw tension.  Sure, jumpscares can be fun and get our hearts racing, but nothing beats the slow build-up of uneasiness that settles within you from the beginning of the film til long after the film has ended.  THE INVITATION was able to do that, and more, leaving me almost gasping for air as the credits rolled on the screen.  This film is what we need in the horror genre and one that needs to be seen by horror fans alike.

THE INVITATION, directed by Karyn Kusama (Jennifer’s Body, Girlfight) stars Logan Marshall-Green (Prometheus), Tammy Blanchard (Into the Woods), Michiel Huisman (World War Z), and Emayatzy Corinealdi (Addicted). It tells the story of Will (Logan Marshall-Green), who has been invited by his ex-wife (Tammy Blanchard) and her boyfriend (Michiel Huisman) back to the home they once shared, for a dinner party with estranged friends.  It’s apparent from the beginning that Will is uneasy about this reunion and as traumatic memories come back, Will comes to the realization that not all is what it seems.

The acting in THE INVITATION is what really brings this film together.  Though everyone was spot on and terrific, the shining star was definitely Logan Marshall-Green.  From the moment I saw him on camera, I was drawn into his troubled character.  Honestly, how could you not be?  Essentially you were watching a man, who is a shell of himself, come to the realization that all his friends and loved ones are moving on from a traumatic experience, and he hasn’t been able to budge. It’s quite sad to watch and you can’t help but feel sorry for him.  As the story and evening unfold, you watch as Will becomes a bit unhinged, believing that some of his friends are against him.  He’s determined to convince everyone that something is wrong and that there is a more sinister motive at hand.

Besides the acting, the pacing of the film was on point and added layer upon layer of tension.  Now, if you like horror movies that just use cheap tactics to scare you, then I’m not sure you are going to like this movie.  It takes time, attention, and patience to really experience this film.  If you can give it your undivided attention than you are in for a real treat.  I expected the ending of this film to be tied up in a nice bow, but to my surprise it wasn’t.  The last 3 minutes of the film sent a shiver down my spine and stayed with me for days afterwards – it made me question what humans are truly capable of when they believe in a single idea.  I’m purposefully not giving too much away because I want YOU to experience this movie and enjoy the hell out of it as much as I did.

Overall, THE INVITATION is a solid and terrifying film that shouldn’t be missed. It makes you question the characters validity as well as question what you already think you know.  Horror isn’t always about the monsters hiding under our bed and in our closets, sometimes the horror is waiting for us in a friend or a loved one. Sometimes we never really see it until it’s too late.

THE INVITATION will be released in the US on April 8, 2016

Shannon McGrew
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