The Invitation ★★★★

Celluloid Screams 2015 Film # 1

Sheffield's premier horror festival started off with a bang by showing this deeply unsettling movie from director Karyn Kusama (Jennifer's Body and the criminally underseen Girlfight). The kind of film where it's best to go in cold, I knew very little about what I was about to see but from the very first scene you may not be sure of where exactly the movie will go but the sense of unease is constant and there is a feeling in your gut that things won't end well.
Logan Marshall Green stars as Will, a man with a fragile state of mind who has obviously gone through a personal tragedy in his past, he accepts an invitation to attend a dinner party thrown by his ex-wife Eden (Tammy Blanchard) and her new man David (Michiel Huisman) at his former home. Also attending the party are a host of old friends making it into a reunion of sorts as well as a couple of mysterious new faces invited by David.
The best part of this movie is that it keeps you guessing, there are a few different roads it can take and I don't think it ever goes the obvious route, it builds slowly letting us get invested in the various characters but it pays off in spades in the last act. The film is also well acted with Green excellent in the lead role, quite and withdrawn, he's a man on the edge of a breakdown and when he decides that something sinister is going down we aren't sure whether or not it's all in his mind or not. John Carroll Lynch also deserves a mention, channelling his performance from Zodiac it's apparent from the first time we meet him that he's a bad egg and when he tells the story about his wife it's quite chilling.
Overall, I really enjoyed this, the stage play like setting really works and I got sucked up in the mounting tension and paranoia , I'm also so glad they went all out with the last act, the director could have taken the film a few different ways but I think she nailed it by going full throttle for the climax, highly recommended.

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