Will is returning to his old home for the first time since the separation with his wife. She's got a new boyfriend and Will had also moved on. It is weird for him to enter the house that holds so many memories - some of them good, some of them terrifying. As evening unravels Will cannot shake off the feeling that something is very wrong. But is it his imagination or his ex wife and her new man have a sinister plan in place?
Think about it. When you visit someone's home, come for dinner, you put yourself at the mercy of your hosts, physically and emotionally. Playing on the fears of this vulnerability THE INVITATION effectively turns the safe environment of the old friends' gathering on it's head. The warning signs come in flashes and some bizarre behaviour of the guests. Although it is somehow hard to separate Will's imagination from what's real, the tension is just building up until the explosion of somehow expected, but nonetheless terrifying finale.
THE INVITATION is all about the camera work, the soundtrack and the atmosphere. The director Karyn Kusama has an uneven filmography, that includes Sci-Fi action Aoen Flux and a social parody horror Jennifer's Body. Here, dealing with a much smaller budget, she thrives in this claustrophobic thriller, which suits best her talent as a filmmaker. The composer Theodore Shapiro, who has written music for many comedies, delivers a minimalistic soundtrack highlighting the characters and the tensions. It is more melancholic than creepy, keeping us in suspense, making us guess whether we are watching a straightforward thriller or a family drama.
I started THE INVITATION with high expectations and I had not been let down. The ending was somehow predictable, but it only makes the experience scarier, thinking I was in denial for an hour and a half just like the guests were. Violent and effective, THE INVITATION is a genuinely unsettling film that one will not soon forget.