18 September 2015

THE INVITATION (/Slash Filmfestival 2015)


USA, 2015
Director: Karyn Kusama


How in the hell was Karyn Kusama, the director of crap like "├ćon Flux" (2005) and rubbish like "Jennifer's Body" (2009), able to make such an incredible movie? Seriously, in this dreadfully lame horror year (so far, 2015 was just terrible for us horror fans), this is easily one of the absolute greatest horror highlights so far. Based on a fantastic screenplay by Matt Manfredi and Phil Hay, two guys who are best known for garbage like "The Tuxedo", "Clash of the Titans" or "R.I.P.D.", Kusama created an irresistibly intense, magnificently mesmerising and decently disturbing horror-thriller, following a troubled man whose ex-wife invites him to an odd dinner party at his former home. Everything is fun and everyone is super-friendly, but the man soon realizes that there is something wrong and that his ex-wife + her new husband have sinister intentions for their guests...

Man, this is such an astonishing and impressively made movie, I'm still speechless. From the unpleasant opening scene to the weird party to the even weirder scene with the video, to the strangely eerie scene with the red lantern, to the big reveal and to the explosive, super-brutal finale, there wasn't a single moment where I was bored, or where I lost focus of what's going on. Every scene, every sequence, every single shot is so well thought out, so deliberately paced and so stunningly put together, it just blows you away, especially at the end when you realize how often you've been tricked by the director. It's one of these movies, like "Goodnight Mommy" or early Shyamalan films, where it doesn't matter if you guess the twist or not, because even if you guess it early on, the movie still works because there's so much more to enjoy about it, be it the intriguing story, the amazingly realistic characters, the intense music, the fabulous photography or the absolutely flawless editing.

I wouldn't mind if "The Invitation" would have been called "Worst Dinner Party Ever", because that's what it's basically about. A dinner party in your old house where something terrible happened, something that still depresses you, a party with people you haven't seen in like ages, peope who act friendly... too friendly, people whose behavior is just awkward because they seem to hide something... something that just isn't right. No-one can be trusted, not even the main character. Even the most unobtrusive guests are weird. In reality, it would be a terrifying nightmare. As a film, it's just wow, wow, wow.

There's tons of pretty unforeseeable twists and turns, tons of shocking little shocks, and when finally all is revealed (Eat your heart out, Ti West ;-), the awesomeness continues and descends into indescribably brutal madness, including one of the stupidest, yet most uncomfortable suicides I've ever seen, as well as one of the most fascinating endings in a very long time. The final shot is so... I don't know how to describe it properly. Mystifying? Appalling? Flabbergasting? Hm, maybe something in between...

Main actor Michiel Huisman, who looks like Caleb-Followill/Tom-Hardy-hybrid, delivers an oustandingly believable performance, same for the great-as-always John Carroll Lynch ("Zodiac") as eerie weirdo, Michelle Krusiec ("Saving Face") as entertaining party-girl, Lindsay Burdge ("Frances Ha") as super-scary semi-party-girl, Logan Marshall-Green ("Prometheus") as sinister semi-asshole and Tammy Blachard ("Blue Jasmine") as the most bizarre party host ever.

Anything else to say? Yes, "The Invitation" is one of the best movies of 2015.
Bravo, Ms. Kusama! More like that, please!


  1. I only skimmed this as the plot sounds interesting and I really want to see it now. Jennifer's Body, eh? Amazing indeed.

    1. Invitation craps all over Invitation. This movie is pure genius!


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