THE INVITATION (2022)
Jessica Thompson’s foray into the world of vampires isn’t earth-shattering, but The Invitation sure is a lot of fun thanks to an incredibly talented Nathalie Emmanuel and solid storytelling.
After taking a DNA test, Evie (Emmanuel) discovers her distant family in England, soon finding herself invited to a lavish wedding where she falls for the Lord of the manor (Thomas Doherty), a man with a more devilish intent than meets the eye. You would think that The Invitation was an abhorrent movie based on the black of promotion from Sony, so going in I wasn’t expecting much. That and the fact that just about the entire plot was spoiled in the trailers. Much to my surprise, however, the acting is great, the plot is well-executed, and the film keeps your interest from beginning to end. Emmanuel is a natural lead, her charisma and charm instantly forcing you as an audience member to gravitate towards her energy and root for her. Doherty is a convincing, menacing figure who traverses the space between seduction and deception with creepy precision. The supporting cast is also sound, especially Hugh Skinner and Courtney Taylor, the latter of which had me rolling with every line uttered.
The true shame with The Invitation is that it has the potential to be so much more. Blair Butler’s script is refreshing in dialogue and tone, the ambience and intrigue contributing to the overall growing tension, but it’s also predictable in a lot of ways. This wasn’t as bothersome as the obvious neutering of the script and pivotal scenes in order to achieve that PG-13 rating. Had The Invitation been rated R, the impact would have been greater and the film more effective. That’s a version I would love to see.
The Invitation is now playing in theaters.