Directed by Karyn Kusama
Reminiscent of dinnertime homicide stories ranging from Hitchcock’s Rope to David Guy Levy’s Would You Rather?, The Invitation is sure to whet your appetite for death and destruction… one spoonful at a time.
Will (Marshall-Green) and his new girlfriend, Kira (Emayatzy Corinealdi), are driving in the dark of night, deep into the winding hills above Hollywood, when somethings darts in front of their car… within these crucial first moments, director Karyn Kusama (Aeon Flux, Jennifer’s Body) sets the table for an eerie evening to unfold, one horror at a time.
Once Will and Kira reach their destination – the opulent, isolated home of David (Huisman) and Eden (Tammy Blanchard) – they soon suspect there’s a hidden agenda behind what they thought was a friendly dinner party. The pair are joined by a gay couple (Mike Doyle and Jordi Vilasuso), a tinsel-town beauty (Michelle Krusiec), the chubby comic relief (Jay Larson), and a mysterious messiah (Lynch) with his winsome acolyte (Burdge), plus a few more thrown in for spice.
As the party gets under way, first with drinks, games, conversation, and finally dinner, Will begins to feel nervous and paranoid. Something just isn’t right. As secrets come to light, we can see why he’d feel out of sorts… but is he overreacting? Maybe. Maybe not. That’s the tease of suspense in the first 3/4 of The Invitation, which is at times intriguing and at times tedious.
Finally (and it does take a long time), the action ramps up toward the end, and horror fans tuning in get everything they want and more in Grand Guignol style.
Slow-cooker The Invitation is a prickly single-night thriller with deft direction from Kusama – worth a helping when it’s out from Drafthouse Films in limited theaters and on VOD April 8th.