Dir.: Karyn Kusama
This movie at its core is a story about a dinner party gone awry. Our main character (Will) is invited by his ex-wife to a dinner party after two years of no communication. The two had a son and were planning on having another when tragedy struck. Their son died and their marriage disintegrated. At the party we’re introduced to a lot of characters such as Will’s ex-wife (Eden), her boyfriend, and their old friends. This movie makes it apparent that all of the group are good friends by their dialogue, but it seems to make no effort to make us care about them. Will is, in my opinion, the only likable character in this movie. After introducing those characters (kind of) we’re introduced to two new characters, Pruitt and Sadie. These are friends of Eden and her boyfriend and they’re really weird.
We soon learn that over the last two years, Eden has been in Mexico where she learned of a “support group” that is all about getting over grief. This movie tries very hard to explain to us that this cult is up to something. They show a weird video of someone in their cult dying to escape their pain and everyone freaks out; which is totally reasonable. Then they decide to play a game called what would you like. Basically they all just say something they would like to do. Sounds like a fun game. Pruitt then decides to tell us about his wife. He tells a story about how he (not so)accidentally killed his wife and went to jail for it. This monologue was good and sincere but it was just so out of left field that I was still questioning it.
By now Will and the audience are made to believe something is definitely up. The scene when Claire leaves the party is very tense. We’re just waiting for something to happen, but nothing does. The whole film follows from Will’s perspective so we see all of the sketchy and creepy things he does. There is definitely a suspense in the air but if I had to be honest I don’t know if I loved it. It didn’t feel like an intrigued suspense but rather an “I know somethings about to happen” suspense.
Finally after getting a voicemail from their friend Troy saying how he arrived hours before even though they’ve been waiting on him to show up all night, Will decides to confront everyone at the dinner table. This was one of the better scenes in the movie. We’re totally behind Will. Something is up and we want answers. Finally Troy shows up saying that he got called into work right when he showed up and had to leave. Suddenly we feel like an idiot. Will was wrong and we feel like jerks. Will has a bit of a breakdown and feels terrible. Will also sees the cult boyfriend light a strange red lantern at this point so that will definitely be important.
They go on with the party and hand out wine to everybody. Gina the Asian friend drinks the wine and Will freaks out stopping everyone else from drinking it. The weird friend Sadie freaks out at this point and runs at Will with fists flying screaming “You’ve ruined everything!” Will pushes her off of him and she falls hits her head and nearly dies. While the group is tending to her Gina falls over dead foaming at the mouth because, you guessed it, poisoned wine. Suddenly the group is tending to her. Miguel, one of the gay guys, starts giving her chest compressions. Then literally out of freaking no where the cult boyfriend shoots Miguel in the back killing him.
This is where the movie takes a turn for the worse. Within the next minute and a half (no exaggeration), every “good guy” who is going to die in the movie dies. I guess since the movie didnt care to make us like these people they didnt feel the need to keep them alive for very long.
As crazy as it sounds, after the first character is shot, all of the bad guys are dead within five minutes. So lets count that up: within five minutes everyone but three people from the original eleven are dead. I was left thinking about that red beacon that he left lit. I figured that something else was still going to happen because that all happened so fast! Will walks over to the beacon and sees on the hillside seven or eight houses with beacons lit, then the movie ends.
If I had to sum up how I felt about this movie into a few words they would be rushed, indifferent and predictable. I could honestly say that I saw just about everything that happens coming. The movie really does have its good moments, but they are so overshadowed by the things I hated about this movie. I honestly was going to give this movie a six out of ten but after writing this I think I talked myself into giving it a five. I’m not upset that I watched it, but I wont be recommending it to anyone.
I am giving The Invitation a very middle of the road 5.5/10.