While I really dug Karyn Kusama’s last film, the Diablo Cody scripted Jennifer’s Body, it seemed like a lot of people didn’t feel the same way solely because it was trendy to trash Megan Fox (it still is, isn’t it?). Either way, all bets are off six years later with Kusama’s latest film The Invitation – a completely different beast than the poppy sweetness of Jennifer’s Body. The Invitation addresses very adult issues and is a very dark slow-burn that escalates towards a wickedly shocking climax.
Two years after the tragic death of his son, Will (Logan Marshall-Green) is still a man weary with grief. Now he’s attending a dinner party at his former home, where his ex-wife Eden (Tammy Blanchard) has invited him and a group of their former friends for a quaint reunion of sorts. After their son’s death, Eden disappeared to Mexico and the dinner party will be the first time Will meets her new flame David (Michel Huisman) and her newfound spirituality that borders on the creepy. Well, “border” is too light a word. It’s full on unnerving.
We’re being held to a capsule review until The Invitation is closer to release, so I can’t say much. The film is worth the wait as it’s currently burning up the festival circuit. Kusama and writers Phil Hay and Matt Manfredi do a masterful job keeping the audience in their grip – with each new revelation more questions are brought to the surface. The film addresses adult issues such as the loss of a child and the fear of being considered impolite in an impossibly polite society. It’s a dinner party, no one wants to be the first to say, “Hey Eden, why the hell are you acting so weird? Something’s not right.”
The tension absolutely seethes until The Invitation erupts into violence. Despite the sudden shift in mood from anxiety-ridden mystery to survival thriller, the filmmakers maintain that palpable tone rich with suspense. And it all leads up to a seriously jaw-dropping and wholly satisfying conclusion.
The Invitation has been acquired by Drafthouse Films. We’ll keep you updated on any new information as it comes along. Join us.