THE INVITATION (2022)
Release Date: 08/26/22 [Cinemas]
Studio: Sony Pictures Releasing
"A young woman is courted and swept off her feet, only to realize a gothic conspiracy is afoot."
OUR MOVIE REVIEW:
With a dash of Jordan Peele’s Get Out and a littleand a sprinkling of Disney’s The Haunted Mansion, The Invitation takes us on a whirlwind of haunted house spookiness to kick off the best time of the year; FALL. Well, technically we aren't quite in autumn yet, but this movie sure made me feel like it.
After losing her last immediate relative, our main character Evie sends in a DNA testing kit for funsies. Not long after, she gets a message on the DNA website from an Englishman claiming they share the same family tree. They meet in person and he invites her to London for the wedding of a family friend, where she can meet more of her extended family members. Being lonely and desperate for connection, she goes. Upon her arrival she meets Walt, the charming owner of the mansion she’s staying in. They develop a flirtatious connection. But as the weirdness of the whole situation develops, she starts to suspect something isn’t right. Still holding out on the promise of making familial connections, she stays long enough to learn the truth about why she was invited.
In a word, this movie is mesmerizing. From the spooky set design to the chic costumes, and the very playful cinematography, the atmosphere of The Invitation is simply enchanting. Normally I'm not into overly dramatic production design that holds hands with heavy lighting to make everything feel like you applied too many coats of mascara, but it doesn't bother me here. It’s very moody, which often matches the characters’ temperaments. The film also lands on its social commentary very well, and the message sits well with the setting. Everything comes together to make the world building feel effective and practical.
The Invitation may look like a dime a dozen horror film, but it’s more than just a cheap thrill. The handful of decent scares gives the rest of the story time to marinate. The acting is exquisite. The message is powerful. I’ve been a big fan of Nathalie Emmanuel since her days on Game of Thrones so seeing her become a scream queen as Evie is really satisfying. Thomas Doherty’s performance as Walt is enthralling all on its own. It’s like you’re put under a spell when he’s on screen.
I had a fun movie night with The Invitation and I think most audiences will too. One thing I know for sure is that I won’t be sending in a DNA testing kit any time soon. The Invitation is in US theaters now!