THE INVITATION l SPHE

I remember seeing the trailers for THE INVITATION and getting major Ready or Not vibes. However, the word was out about where it took its origins from. To this day, I’m not sure if a certain aspect of the movie was supposed to be a surprise or not. Personally, I have a major pet peeve about spoilers so I won’t get into that aspect even though anyone reading this probably already knows.

Evie (Nathalie Emmanuel) works for a catering company where jokes about workplace misogyny help get her through the shift. She assists with an event for a DNA testing company which sends her home with a goodie bag. Both of her parents are dead so she takes a chance and sends out one of the DNA kits which leads to a message from a second cousin. Oliver (Hugh Skinner) meets her and turns out her ancestry is filthy rich and lives like the people at Downton Abbey. He pays for her to attend the “wedding of the century” in England.

While I can understand wanting to meet the rest of your super-rich family, I couldn’t wrap my head around her ignoring the fact that her grandfather was the result of an interracial scandal. His father fled with him and now she’s flying to her racist relatives? People stare at her and it is easy to assume it’s a racial thing, but we know something out of this world is at play. She aims to explore, point out entitlement, and deliver one-liners to put them in their place. Emmanuel plays Evie as part of the audience. She’s in on the joke but acts on choices that make the audience want to yell out. She plays her well and it’s not too difficult to see her potential in comedic roles.

A big issue with THE INVITATION is that it has an identity crisis. One segment delivers like a traditional popcorn jump scare-a-thon. But then we have a romantic sequence that goes on entirely too long. The jokes in the script feel out of place quite a bit. It’s as if the producers saw Get Out and asked for more Jordan Peele humor without the Jordan Peele touch.

There are minimal special features on the Blu-ray disc, but I don’t suppose there’s much to say. Outtakes and bloopers can be fun to watch and this short compilation is no exception. The mini-documentaries are short segments on production design and some behind-the-scenes footage. The disc truly shines in its technical achievements, in particular the audio mix. The 5.1 DTS-HD mix brings the movie to life with deep bass levels and adds that boom it needs with the otherwise predictable jump scares.

THE INVITATION comes in PG-13 and unrated cuts on one disc, but the difference is a mere minute. In terms of heading out to buy this, rent it first because the disjointed tone and lagged pacing make this one a doozy.

THE INVITATION is now available on Digital and Blu-ray.

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