Directed by Jessica M. Thompson.
Starring Nathalie Emmanuel, Thomas Doherty, Stephanie Corneliussen, Alana Boden, Hugh Skinner, Kata Sarbó, Scott Alexander Young, Virág Bárány, Sean Pertwee, Elizabeth Counsell, Courtney Taylor, Jeremy Wheeler, and Carol Ann Crawford.
After her mother’s death, Evie is approached by an unknown cousin and invited to a lavish wedding in the English countryside. She soon realizes that a gothic conspiracy is afoot and she must fight to survive as she uncovers twisted secrets in her family’s history.
The invitation is the last wrong Salt pale limitation without a rudimentary understanding of why that socially charged narrative was tense, provocative and moving. Directed by Jessica M. Thompson (co-screenwriter with Blair Butler), the film centers on working-class woman Evie (Nathalie Emmanuel), who, while still grieving her father and the recent loss of her mother, decides to take a DNA test. she in search of more ancestors.
The test results bring up a distant cousin eager to meet. Dismissing the justified concerns of her good friend Grace (Courtney Taylor in the role of designated comic relief Black Friend who communicates through technology, which seems to be mandatory for these modern day horror stories of vacation getaways from hell) , Evie gets a treat. she dines and is invited to a high-end wedding at the colossal English gothic estate of her wealthy friends.
Given the creepy statues and paintings (not to mention the all-black photography), it’s clear something is amiss here. To be fair, a prologue of a woman who commits suicide trying to escape has already confirmed this. However, Evie falls head over heels for the mansion’s owner, Walter (Thomas Doherty, who is at least trying to make the most of this material that has him by wearing multiple personality masks). Unlike the cruel butler, Walter treats the staff with human dignity and respect, is self-critical, aware of his privilege, and doesn’t hesitate to apologize when he makes a mistake. He is also sexy, which makes Evie give in even more to her charms (with Grace’s influence).
It’s not that The invitation it spends too much time on this romantic angle draining it of any life force but rather how dull and suspense free it runs. A twist on the horizon is all well and good, but if it’s going to be so obvious and comes so late in the narrative, there needs to be some sharp social commentary along with the fun house thrills. The invitation unequivocally finds nothing that engages in the phase of honeymoon in love. The horror aspect is certainly more entertaining but also incredibly cheesy for a story that desperately wants to make a memorable class war statement.
It must also be said that the team below the line has done a solid job, creating exquisitely colorful dresses, a spooky setting, and occasionally an alluring image. The remainder of this invitation should be disposed of in the trash. Perplexingly, these filmmakers have tried to prepare a sequel for The invitation, and although this film is nowhere near the disaster that some films that are not screened for critics tend to be, I would rather donate blood than assist a successor. Rescind the invitation.
Flashing Myth Rating – Movie: ★ ★ / Movie: ★ ★
Robert Kojder is a member of the Chicago Film Critics Association and the Critics Choice Association. He is also the reviews editor for Flickering Myth. Check here for new reviews, follow my Twitter or Letterboxd, or email me at [email protected]