Red Lantern: A ‘The Invitation’ review

Directed by: Karyn Kusama

Starring: Logan Marshall-Green, Tammy Blanchard, Michiel Huisman, John Carroll Lynch.

Plot: A man and his new girlfriend arrive at a dinner party reunion of a group of old friends to discover some of the party have found a new lease of life through a self help program called The Invitation 

It happens every year, there is a film that completely skips my radar that then serendipitously arrives on my doorstep to pleasantly take me by surprise, The Invitation is one of those films.

Coming out of nowhere, well, coming out of nowhere for me apparently, The Invitation is a classy, brilliantly paced thriller. It teases us during the course of it’s first half as to where it is going to take us whilst also delivering a thought provoking exploration on how we process and deal with loss, depression and events that turn our world upside down in a modern society where fads and quick fixes are increasingly becoming the norm, questioning our understanding and relationship with the human condition when pushed to our emotional breaking point. The second half opts for the more traditional thriller route but delivers it with an artistic flair and deft hand at delivering tension and shock in equal measure that set it a cut above usual genre fare, the final reveal in particular is wonderfully set up.

Although he may look like a reject from a Kings Of Leon tribute band in this film, Logan Marshall-Green delivers an excellent lead turn, effectively portraying a man struggling to deal with his grief from a life changing event and all that comes with it. Nuanced and measured, he is deserving of any praise levelled his way. Supporting turns from Tammy Blanchard & Michiel Huisman are also worthy of merit, Blanchard’s character in particular, dealing with her loss in an entirely different way that is equally as impressive a turn as Marshall-Green, the flip side of the same coin if you will.

This film may be a slow burn, so much so that you may be forgiven for thinking where it is leading you at times, but it is well worth the perseverance as it unfolds in subtle and surprising ways into one of the most entertaining and impressive horror-thrillers I have seen in a long time. A film that is a worthy candidate for my films of the year list that I wasn’t expecting, and let’s face it, those kind are always the best.

The Invitation is currently available to stream on Netflix.

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