STARRING: Logan Marshall-Green, Tammy Blanchard, Michiel Huisman, Emayatzy Corinealdi, Lindsay Burdge, Jordi Vilasuso, Mike Doyle, Jay Larson, John Carroll Lynch, Karl Yune, Toby Huss, Michelle Krusiec and Marieh Delfino
While attending a dinner party at his former home, a man thinks his ex-wife and her new husband have sinister intentions for their guests.
Will and Eden were once a married couple. After the tragic death of their son, they divorced and Eden disappeared. We follow Will taking his girlfriend Kira to the Hollywood Hills home of his ex-wife, who is hosting a dinner party with her new husband David, an invitation out of the blue and two years since the last time Will saw her. Over the course of the dinner party, Will is haunted by the tragic events surrounding his son’s death and has a terrible suspicion that Eden and her new friends have a mysterious agenda against him and his friends.
The Invitation is the latest film offering from director Karyn Kusama, who also directed such films as Girlfight, Aeon Flux and Jennifer’s Body. The film has us following a man named Will who is attending a house party being hosted by his ex-wife Eden and her new husband David. The thing is Will nor their friends have seen or heard from Eden in two years, until out of the blue they all get the invitation. As Will becomes haunted by the tragic events that accord in their old house where the party is being hosted, he becomes wary of David and his own friends and believes that they have sinister intentions planned for the night.
The Invitation is a slow burn film that attempts to draw you into the mindset of Logan Marshall-Green’s character Will and for the most part, Marshall-Green is the best part of the film. Marshall-Green does a really good job of conveying emotion as Will, particularly as we begin to wonder if his mental state of being, such as reliving the tragedy that occurred years ago in his old home is causing him to be paranoid about the behaviour of Eden’s husband David and two new friends of theirs that Will and Eden’s old circle have never met. The rest of the cast is fine but since Will is the one that we focus with, we invest most with his character and therefore stands out. Having the film set primarily in one location (the opening scene being the exception) works to the films strengths, particularly when the final act comes into play, which happens to have the films most memorable moments.
While I will say the film has a strong finish, with a runtime of an hour and forty minutes, it does feel like a chore to get to that final act. Personally I felt ready for something to go wrong as you feel that something is ‘off’ about Eden and her new circle of friends and it took too long getting down to what the part is really about, meaning that the film could’ve been trimmed down by about ten-fifteen minutes perhaps? It did at times take me out of the film just how easy going the majority of the group seemed to be throughout the party while Will is seeing red flags left, right and centre and particularly calls Eden, David and Co. out on a few occasions.
The Invitation is a decent little drama that for me had me invested, lose interest in the middle as it seemed to take too long to get to the nitty gritty of the story and finally finished strong. The performances from the cast are fine, with Logan Marshall-Green standing out with a good performance in the lead role as Will. 5/10