Don’t accept an invitation to see this movie if you receive one. If you have to, fake your own demise. A woman receives a DNA kit and discovers she has family in England in the horror movie The Invitation. She agrees to go see her family in a mansion after meeting with her cousin. She finds herself in a struggle for survival as a result of a tragic turn of events.
The Invitation is an unusually terrible horror film. Everyone has seen both excellent and horrifying horror movies that are so bad they’re good. Both describe this film. In the middle, where it operates, it’s a forgettable, “nothing” experience.
The film never provides the enjoyment it could have, and every aspect of it leaves you with the impression that it is repeating concepts that have already been done better. There is nothing about this movie that would make it a recommendation, but it doesn’t do anything to make it a cinematic atrocity, either. Thankfully for some, the whole plot of The Invitation is revealed in the movie’s trailer.
Check out the trailer if you want to see the entire movie for free in 2 minutes and 38 seconds, complete with a spoiler about the ending. I won’t reveal anything about the plot of this movie if my exhortations not to see it have not dissuaded you.
The protagonist is brought out of their comfort zone to a strange, isolated location devoid of mobile phone coverage and means of escape, which is a typical setting for a horror film. It doesn’t really get interesting after that.
The Invitation Storyline
Evelyn (Nathalie Emmanuel of “Game of Thrones”) is a free-spirited twenty-something New Yorker who insists that everyone, even complete strangers, call her Evie — and she insists quite frequently, just so we don’t miss the fact that she is indeed a free spirit — and makes ends meet working as wait for staff at catered events while trying to pursue her artistic ambitions of making ceramics.
She picks up a swag bag at a fancy event for Discover Yourself, which is obviously a more upmarket version of Ancestry.com and discovers a DNA test among the gifts. She decides to research her family genealogy. Of course, this is the first of many missteps.
The racial ramifications of this connection are only briefly touched upon in the script. When Evie receives an overly enthusiastic invitation from a second cousin to attend a lavish family wedding at an opulent English manor, she accepts and realizes she is the only person of color there besides the maids.
Grace, her best friend from back home, is understandably dubious, but Evie is overcome by a sense of belonging. Yes, the maids all wear uniforms with identifying numbers. That is a little strange. In addition, the butler is a snob. Moreover, there is a secret key that opens the locked library.
Yet even so! Walter, the young lord of the manor, is extremely attractive with his piercing blue eyes, square jaw, and a shirt that has one too many buttons undone. Also, he is not a member of Evie’s family, which is usually a bonus. As the three-day celebrations get started, a spa day for Evie and the imposingly stunning maids of honor is particularly expertly set and handled.
Also, she could have given the major reveal, which then takes place at a menacing dinner party with masks, more time to build tension. Then, everything shifts abruptly and rapidly, and “The Invitation” transforms into a different movie—a sillier one.
It seems abrupt and perhaps a little upsetting how the tone has changed to something campier. It appeared that Jessica M. Thompson (The Director) was on to something. Instead, she does so in a generic way, going over some very well-known stuff.
Then, terrible things start to occur. Evie doesn’t realize she is trapped in a multi-family vampire coven for a very long time. To be honest, the bloodsuckers here are able to move around throughout the day and engage in other activities that make it simple to avoid being discovered.
One vamp haughtily remarks, “There are so many misconceptions about our type. Evie appears to be more outraged over the condescending comment, “For someone of your upbringing, surely this is more than a leg up,” than she is about getting bit. She becomes increasingly angrier when her denial of immortality is met with the remark, “You modern women are so ungrateful,”
During some fairly inventive turnabouts in the third act, Evie eventually stands up for herself, but that really isn’t enough to rekindle an affection for the character. Ladies and gentlemen, allow me to introduce you to Jonathan and Mina Harker!). Nathalie Emmanuel makes an effort to prevent Evie from coming across as completely illiterate. There are a few not-so-subtle references to “Dracula” sprinkled throughout the film.
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The Invitation (2022) Review
The Invitation has a fantastic set design. The setting of the movie is a huge, unsettling mansion, which is ideal for a tight-knit horror picture like this. The Light of the Moon director Jessica M. Thompson, who has done outstanding work in the past, does a good job with the gloomy atmosphere. There are a few jump scares. Some are nearly successful, while others are quite pitiful.
The majority of the movie feels pretty predictable, yet it’s not a terribly directed horror movie. There are a few frightful moments in the movie, but there isn’t an overriding atmosphere of dread. None of the terror is likely to stay in your memory after the credits have rolled.
When it comes to a movie with this premise and structure, comparisons are simple. Several people have compared this to Get Out, and Ready Or Not, which is an accurate description of what The Invitation tries to be but never quite manages to achieve in terms of quality. The twist doesn’t occur until later in the movie, which gives the impression that it takes a while for the action to begin.
The Invitation feels like a romantic movie with horror moments thrown in at random points, which is why something similar to this doesn’t work in Get Out, which continuously builds suspense and has interesting themes and characters. The costume design, which was created by Danielle Knox, is magnificent.
Hence, even though Nathalie Emmanuel is made to perform a challenging juggling act between horror and comedy, at least she looks fantastic while doing it. By employing weird exchanges and glimpsed strange events to hint at the broader mystery, Blair Butler’s writing successfully builds tension in this way, while Thompson’s director makes use of lingering staring shots to heighten the unsettling cult-like atmosphere.
The acting is excellent as well, with Doherty blending charisma and charm with something a little more frightening and Emmanuel achieving the ideal balance between unflappable and unsettled. The central relationship in The Invitation can feel overworked and underwritten at the same time due in part to the lack of chemistry between the two characters.
For the record, Nathalie Emmanuel portrays the character in the film admirably and pulls off a perfect American accent. Hugh Skinner is fantastic as Oliver Alexander, and Thomas Doherty has a lot of fun in his role as Walter De Ville, but it seems like the movie entirely forgets to use its character after the first act. The movie can suffer from taking itself too seriously, which would be a waste of time in the end.
The movie, in short, has a few stuff going for it. But the Get Out similarities only go so far, and The Invitation, for all of its merits, is eventually undone by its predictability. The movie’s introductory scene pretty much reveals the entire plot, and after that, there’s an inevitableness about where things are going that never really goes away.
There are a few tiny twists in The Invitation that try to keep us on our toes, and it still has its suspenseful moments. Yet, it ends up being similar to one of the DNA test kits that Evie uses in the beginning – intriguing at first but not as exciting as you were hoping.
The Invitation makes an effort to be both frightening and interesting, but despite your best efforts, you won’t care about anything you watch in this film. It never brings the plot to satisfying endings and cannot overcome how generic and boring most of it is. While there are worse horror films, this one is aggressively lame, with sporadic but insufficiently decent ideas to warrant viewing.
Our Rating: 2/5.