The Invitation

I avoided this movie for a long time. When it was in theaters at the end of August, I did not find myself interested in seeing it. It then came to Vudu, and I could not bring myself to rent it. Finally, it came to Netflix and it was free, so I finally decided to give it a view. I was right in the first place.

According to IMDB, “After the death of her mother and having no other known relatives, Evie (Nathalie Emmanuel) takes a DNA test…and discovers a long-lost cousin she never knew she had. Invited by her newfound family to a lavish wedding in the English countryside, she’s at first seduced by the sexy aristocrat host but is soon thrust into a nightmare of survival as she uncovers twisted secrets in her family’s history and the unsettling intentions behind their sinful generosity.

The first half of the film was nothing but jump scares strung together, none of which were anything of substance outside of just tying to elicit a response from the audience. There are movies that use the jump scare effectively, but this one was nothing but the cheap scare technique.

The acting was fine, but there was nothing that was going to elevate this movie above the script and some of the dialogue was truly awful. My favorite of the film was Sean Pertwee, who played the butler Renfield. Pertwee also played Alfred Pennyworth of the Gotham TV show. I guess his specialty is service acting. Of course, he was nothing here but a lackey, but it was nice seeing him once again. I always liked his Alfred.

The film really pulled the rug out from the story that it seemed to be telling in the first two-thirds of the movie. You knew something weird was going on, but it was a real flip when the truth came out. Understand, it is not that it was a surprising shock. It was obvious as could be as to the truth that was going on, but it did not take any time to build up the twist. It just through it into the story and let things fall where they may. It was preposterous.

The setting did a decent job of setting a mood for the film, but it felt as if all it would take was a single line and this could have been a solid satire.

I did like Nathalie Emmanuel as our main protagonist, though she was stupid through much of the film. She looked great on screen and I expect that she could do more with a better story. The former Game of Thrones actress could have a really good career (she’d be great as a young Storm in MCU), but when she moves ahead into better projects, hopefully she will be able to put this one behind her.

The Invitation became my 178 movie reviewed this year, setting a new record for a single year. It’s a shame that the record breaker couldn’t have been a better movie.

1.5 stars

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