The invitation

The invitation
Original title:The invitation
Director:Jessica M. Thompson
Running time:106 minutes
Release date:26 august 2022
After the death of her mother, Evie finds herself without family. She decides to take a DNA test and discovers a distant cousin she never knew existed. After getting in touch with him, he invites her to a lavish wedding in the English countryside so she can meet his new family. At first under the spell of the handsome aristocrat hosting the festivities, she soon finds herself in a hellish struggle for survival as she discovers the dark secrets of her family's history and the disturbing intentions of her hosts under the guise of strange generosity.

Mulder's Review

As the Frightfest festival starts this Thursday in London, it is interesting to ask what a good horror thriller should be able to hold the audience's attention and revisit recurring themes in cinema such as vampires. While the trend will be to show outrageous special effects and violent horrific scenes to satisfy the expectations of an audience fond of this kind of films, The Invitation seems to pay homage to the films of the 80's and 90's in which the emphasis was put on creating a real scary atmosphere and not an overload of morbid and flashy scenes. 

Director Jessica M. Thompson, who also co-wrote the film with Blair Butler, seems to have easily assimilated the important rules of the horror genre and mixed them in such landmark films as the Downton Abbey and Twilight saga with its rules to be respected, its deceptive appearances but also by the structure of the film refers us to the excellent (Ready Or Not.

After a heavy introductory scene, we discover in New York a young student Evie (Nathalie Emmanuel) who also works as a waitress with a friend of hers. Evie has lost her mother to cancer and is alone with no family ties. In an attempt to learn more about her origins, she decides to take a DNA test on a well-known website and is contacted by a distant cousin she didn't know existed.  The latter invites her to a sumptuous wedding in the middle of the English countryside in a huge manor house. What could have been a festive moment will quickly turn into a nightmare when the sexy and rich aristocrat who welcomes her with other guests turns out not to be what he seems to be. Evie will not only have to run away from the mansion but also escape many traps and discover the twisted secrets of this distant family.

For her second film after the highly successful The Light of the Moon (2017) writer/director Jessica M. Thompson brings an important feminine touch and dusts off the myth of the modern vampire. Far from wanting to drown her film in a continuous flow of blood, she focuses on the psychological evolution of her main female character but also on a disturbing atmosphere based on an obvious class struggle and on the fact that the greed of some people can hide the actions of a real monster in every sense of the word. 

Carried by an interesting cast including Nathalie Emmanuel (Maze Runner and Fast and Furious sagas, Army of Thieves (2021)) and Sean Pertwee (Gotham series), The Invitation is a horrific thriller that will not revolutionize the genre and draws many ideas from the aforementioned films, but it manages to hold our attention and make us jump on our armchair for a few scenes. Certainly, we would have liked a little more rhythm and inventiveness but the result is an entertaining film carried by the actress Nathalie Emmanuel as seductive and irresistible capable of transforming herself into a woman of action ready to do anything to fight and stay alive.

The Invitation
Directed by Jessica M. Thompson
Written by Blair Butler, Jessica M. Thompson
Produced by Emile Gladstone
Starring Nathalie Emmanuel, Thomas Doherty, Stephanie Corneliussen, Alana Boden, Courtney Taylor Hugh Skinner, Sean Pertwee
Cinematography : Autumn Eakin
Edited by Tom Elkins
Music by Dara Taylor
Production companies : Screen Gems, Mid Atlantic Films, Emile Gladstone Productions
Distributed by Sony Pictures Releasing
Release date : August 24, 2022 (France) August 26, 2022 (United States)
Running time : 106 minutes

 Seen on August 23, 2022 at Gaumont Disney Village, Room 7 seat A18

Mulder's Mark: