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11 Apr 2016

Home Video Review: 'The Invitation' Turns a Dinner Party Into a Scary Cult Experience

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A scene from The Invitation. A scene from The Invitation.

Dinner parties tend to suck, don’t they? You bring a stupid bottle of wine that nobody will like. You have no small-talk topics for others other than the weather and your stinky-feet problem. And in the case of the dinner party in The Invitationa film which freaked out the Independent’s Brian Blueskye when it was part of the Palm Springs International Film Festival back in January—the hosts may or may not be trying to kill you.

Will (Logan Marshall-Green) is visiting his ex-wife, Gina (Michelle Krusiec), at a dinner party. Gina has been away for some time, and she’s gotten all smiley in the wake of a tragedy through which she and Will suffered. Her new boyfriend, David (Michiel Huisman), is a bit of a weirdo—happy and perhaps a bit too pleasant, especially since he shows the party a video of a woman, surrounded by members of some cult, dying by choice.

As one would expect, the video puts a damper on the party, but everyone eventually makes it to the dinner table—where things get even weirder.

Director Karyn Kusama (Jennifer’s Body, Girlfight) does nice work within the scary cult genre, getting good performances from Marshall-Green and John Carroll Lynch as a friend with a sketchy past. There’s a good mystery at play here, with a final act that delivers on the buildup.

The Invitation’s good ensemble cast nicely serves the decent script and effective director. Marshall-Green, best known for a supporting role in Prometheus and a couple of TV shows, should find himself getting some decent future work. He’s got some major chops.

The Invitation is available on demand or via online sources including iTunes and Amazon.com.

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