Director: Karyn Kusama
Cast: Logan Marshall-Green, Emayatzy Corinealdi, Michiel Huisman
Release Date: Now Available on Blu-ray Combo Pack
A Review By: Kevin Lovell
Film Rating: 9/10
Disc Rating: 6.5/10
In this taut psychological thriller by Karyn Kusama (Girlfight, Jennifer’s Body), the tension is palpable when Will (Logan Marshall-Green, Prometheus) shows up to a dinner party hosted by his ex-wife Eden (Tammy Blanchard, Into the Woods) and new husband David (Michiel Huisman, “Game of Thrones”). The estranged divorcees’ tragic past haunts an equally eerie present; amid Eden’s suspicious behavior and her mysterious house guests, Will becomes convinced that his invitation was extended with a hidden agenda. Unfolding over one dark evening in the Hollywood Hills, The Invitation blurs layers of mounting paranoia, mystery, and horror until both Will—and the audience—are unsure what threats are real or imagined.
‘The Invitation’ follows the course of an evening dinner party seen primarily through the eyes of Will (Marshall-Green) whose ex-wife Eden (Blanchard) and new husband David (Huisman) are hosting the event after being mysteriously absent for quite some time. Now apparently back in Los Angeles and both with an uneasy sense of contentment which Will can’t help but find incredibly troubling with the horrifying events of their past that still haunt him daily. As old friends and new gather for the fancy dinner party, Will begins to find himself increasingly unsettled, unable to shake the feeling that something is terribly wrong, yet the lack of concern by his oldest friends and contradicting events occurring throughout the course of the evening cause him to begin questioning whether it may merely be in his head.
Directed by Karyn Kusama (Girlfight, Jennifer’s Body) from a script written by Phil Hay and Matt Manfredi (Ride Along, R.I.P.D.), Kusama does a wonderful job at the helm of ‘The Invitation’ guiding this outstanding psychological thriller with fitting level of tension and unease that works beautifully. The film also owes plenty of credit to the talented individuals who comprise the cast including Logan Marshall-Green (Prometheus, Devil), Emayatzy Corinealdi (Addicted, TV’s Hand of God), Michiel Huisman (World War Z, TV’s Game of Thrones), Tammy Blanchard (Into the Woods, Moneyball) Jordi Vilasuso (TV’s All My Children) and more, nearly all of whom deliver highly competent performances in each of their respective roles.
‘The Invitation’ is a clever and wonderfully constructed psychological thriller that accomplishes the daring task of attempting to pull the viewer into Will’s shoes during the course of the evening’s events. Managing to truly immerse the viewer within the character’s viewpoint, the resulting effect is a tense, paranoid and unsettlingly calm experience that should resonate with viewers for some time following the film’s eerily fitting final moments. Anyone who enjoys a well made psychological thriller that will keep your brain working until the powerful climax will definitely want to check out ‘The Invitation’ when you have the opportunity to do so. Beautifully guided by director Karyn Kusama and further complimented by a talented cast including Logan Marshall-Green, Emayatzy Corinealdi, Michiel Huisman, Tammy Blanchard and more, ‘The Invitation’ is a fantastic thriller that is well worth a watch, although I would suggest avoiding the trailer if possible as it does give away a tad more than you may prefer to see prior to watching.
Overall, ‘The Invitation’ is an engulfing, tense and unsettling psychological thriller that should have fans of the genre thrilled. It serves as a fantastic comeback for director Karyn Kusama whose capable guidance is nearly flawless and certain to keep your mind racing throughout. I would highly recommend checking out ‘The Invitation’, any fan of smart psychological thrillers should thoroughly enjoy this fantastic film.
The Blu-ray release of ‘The Invitation’ features a full 1080p High Definition presentation utilizing the film’s original 2.35:1 Cinemascope Aspect Ratio. The video presentation looks pretty decent overall and delivers a fairly clean and sharp picture, although there are a few drastically dark moments where some noticeable banding and/or video noise can be seen, yet everything always remains discernible and pretty solid in appearance from start to finish. Overall, while certainly not perfect, this is a more than adequate high definition video presentation that should largely please.
The Blu-ray release unfortunately features solely a 640 kbps lossy 5.1 channel Dolby Digital soundtrack, a rare occurrence for Drafthouse Films who previously have primarily included lossless DTS-HD MA tracks on their releases, even many of the older films providing lossless stereo or mono tracks. That being said, this lossy multichannel soundtrack still sounds pretty great for what it is and provides a clean, crisp and at times quite immersive and bass heavy experience, utilizing all five available channels primarily to increase the tension level courtesy of the film’s phenomenal score. Overall, while the lack of a lossless soundtrack is definitely disappointing, this 640 kbps 5.1 channel Dolby Digital soundtrack sounds fairly impressive for what it is.
The Blu-ray release of ‘The Invitation’ includes a few worthwhile extras. Included on the release is an ‘Audio Commentary with Director Karyn Kusama and writers Phil Hay and Matt Manfredi. We are also treated to a behind the scenes Featurette ‘The Making of The Invitation’ which includes interviews/comments with the cast and crew and behind the scenes footage (running 10 minutes in length), in addition to 2 Music Videos: ‘Baby You’re Gone’ (approximately 2 minutes), and ‘O My Child’ (2 minutes), and the ‘Teaser’ & ‘Theatrical Trailer’ (approximately 3 minutes combined) for the film, along with trailers for some additional Drafthouse titles. A full color booklet including a ‘Director’s Statement’ and an essay/article by Britt Hayes is also included.