The other day I was thinking to myself about how many people have passed away this year. Not just the celeb's that have passed away, but people I have known directly or indirectly. My boss lost both his parents in the span of a few months, his boss lost his aunt, co-workers have lost a mom, brother, and a sister--in-law. The list goes on from there as well. Oddly enough, the next movie I decided to watch, because I had been hearing a lot of hype for it, has to do in part with how people deal with death, tragedy, and finding ways of moving on. I'm talking about the film The Invitation (2015).
Will (Logan Marshall-Green) and his girlfriend Kira (Emayatzy Corinealdi) are traveling to Will's ex-wife's place. After their son died, Will and Eden (Tammy Blanchard) had a lot of problems, and decided to divorce. Eden then disappeared for two years, and now she is back along with her new husband David (Michiel Huisman). Once there, they discover that a bunch of old friends have also been invited to the party. Will expressed concern about being there, not only because of seeing his ex-wife again after so long, but also because the house holds so many memories. After being there a while, Will has decided that Eden seems to have moved on from their son's death, and that something very weird is going on with Eden and David. Is there something going on with them, or is Will losing his mind?
When I had started hearing about The Invitation, I did my best to avoid knowing very much about it. I knew that it was getting hyped a bit, but I didn't know what the plot was about outside of what Netflix said about it, which is never very much. I also avoided the trailer, and I'm glad I did now that I have been hearing that it gives too much of the story away. You see, The Ivitation is a movie your best left with not knowing much about when you go into it. If you watch the trailer or read the wrong review, then you will already know which direction the film will take. That is something that writers Phil Hay and Matt Manfredi, along with director Karyn Kusama, hinge their film on. It adds a lot of tension to the film because you know something is going to happen, but you don't know who it will be or when it will actually happen. Just when I thought I had it figured out, an excuse would be used, and it would be believable. Not that there isn't any repeat value to the film, but I think to get the full impact of the story, you need to go in knowing as little as possible. That is a positive to me, keeping me guessing. I knew it had to end one of two ways, and I wasn't sure how it would all go down once it started. The bad thing, sort of, is that they left all the cards on the table. There aren't many secrets going on here, so it is very easy to see which two ways things are going to play out. Another slight problem was that there is a very slow pace through the whole film. I didn't have much of a problem with it most of the time, but just when I thought things were coming to a climax, it slows down again. I think if you have watched the film, you know where I am talking about here.
There wasn't a lot for special effects here. There are people who get hurt and even killed, but not in real graphic ways. There are some bloody scenes here and there, but nothing major. The acting was very good, mostly all around. I didn't have any real problems with the acting, just some characters I didn't care for much. Logan Marshall-Green was by far my favorite actor here. He really is able to express his loss at times. While her character is very weird, I also liked Lindsay Burdge. John Carroll Lynch was also very good. The only problem I had with those two is that their characters almost makes it too obvious what might happen. Tammy Blanchard and Michiel Huisman also do a wonderful job.
The main complaint I hear about The Invitation is that it is too predictable. I get the complaint, but I don't at the same time. Many that say this admit that they watched the trailer first, or say that the story could have went either way. I didn't get why people who admit it could have gone either way say it is too predictable. Obviously it wasn't because there wouldn't be an either/or to it. Despite some of the silly scenes, like one guy saying he wants a blow job, The Invitation kept me glued to what was happening. It is a film you need to pay attention to in order to pick up on some the minor things. There is also a bit of a twist at the end of the film that is hit or miss for fans. While this isn't a film for everyone, I would highly suggest giving it a shot. I have told a friend about it that isn't even into horror films because I thought she would still enjoy it. It isn't heavy on horror and falls more into thriller turf more than anything, but it is still a damn good movie. Check it out sometime if you haven't already.
4 out of 5 Why wasn't I invited??