By Michael Kalafatis (Stoke on Trent)
After two years, Will (Logan Marshall-Green) gets an invitation by his ex-wife Eden (Tammy Blanchard) to attend a dinner hosted by her and her new husband David (Michiel Huisman). In the dinner party Will goes with his current girlfriend Kira (Emayatzy Corinealdi). In the party also attend Will and Eden’s mutual friends and two mutual friends of David and Eden, who makes Will uneasy, and he does not understand why they have been invited, as the dinner party is supposed to be a reunion and gathering of estranged friends. As the narrative progresses Will starts to get suspicious of David and his two friends, who act in very strange way, the other dinner guest try to assure him that everything is alright and he should stop acting in a weird and aloof manner.
The Invitation masterfully manages to draw us into the mindset of Will and his paranoia and uneasiness is conveyed in a very effective way with the use of eerie musical score and the performance by Logan Marshall-Green, which hits all the right notes. The joy of watching this film is that we are not really sure what is really going on, is Will right to behave the way he does? A thing that would indicate that something suspicious is happening in the dinner party or is just Will’s own paranoia that has clouded his own judgment, as the house evokes a myriad of memories that he spend with Eden, a life time ago, and seeing her having erased that past and moved on, has affected him more that he realises.
The narrative of the film takes place on one location, for most films that would have been a major setback, and the film would have been dull, but fortunately in The Invitation the characters are well written and flawlessly performed but Logan Marshall-Green is the performance that stands out, he is the person who carries the film, and it is through his perspective that we perceive the film’s world, and he manages to convey paranoia and apprehension so effective that we start to question his sanity. The Invitation is a horror film, but like a good horror film it does not really shows anything for most of its duration, but relies in creating an ambience of uncertainty and asphyxiating dread, which engulfs Will and the feeling of foreboding is embellished by the minimalistic soundtrack, which creates an inconspicuous lurking danger that we are not certain where will it come, or when. Therefore, The invitation is a much scarier than other horror films, because it does not rely on jump scares to scare its viewers, but on very realistically grounded situations which are surprisingly very relatable.
The Invitation even though is mainly a horror-thriller it manages skillfully to talks about depression , grief and the way people cope in a different way with life changing experiences. These notions are what makes the film interesting and effective and manage to leave a lasting impression upon the spectators, a thing that most horror film should aim to do, as horror film should not only rely upon scaring its viewers but to affect them in a deeper way, in way that The Invitation uses realism to convey horror and thus managing to be one of the best horror films of the past years.