The conclusion feels rushed and not as well thoughtout and executed as the buildup
The Invitation (2022) is a movie my wife and I saw in theatres last night. The storyline follows a young lady who lost both parents and doesn't know her family beyond them well. One day she takes a DNA test and her second cousin is identified. Her second cousins contacts her, they meet for lunch and he invites her to an upcoming family wedding in England. When she gets there she meets a handsome gentleman, starts falling for him and enjoys her family's wealth and charm. As the wedding get closer to taking place she starts noticing weird things in the house and jealousy from some family members...but why?
This movie is directed by Jessica M. Thompson (The End) and stars Nathalie Emmanuel (Game of Thrones), Thomas Doherty (High Fidelity), Stephanie Corneliussen (DC's Legend of Tomorrow), Sean Pertwee (Gotham) and Alana Boden (Ride).
This movie had a fantastic setup with great settings, unpredictable characters and intriguing circumstances. There's some great jump scenes throughout this movies and well done horror elements. The library opening, bedroom scene, dinner table discovery and wine cellar sequences were all pretty good. The love story had the perfect blend of intensity mixed with "somethings off." Unfortunately the movie takes a turn the wrong way during the wedding and the conclusion feels rushed and not as well thoughtout and executed as the buildup leading you to feel unfulfilled as the movie concludes. The very end just before the credits wasn't as clever and smart as the director hoped.
Overall this had the potential to be a worthwhile addition to the horror genre but falls short of what it could have been. I would score this a 5/10 and recommend seeing it once.
Reviewed by Benslie5 / 10
Just don't watch the trailer
One of the biggest faults of this movie, funny enough, isn't anything to do with the movie itself but the promotions for it. If you have seen the trailer for this movie then you've pretty much seen the entire movie, including the big twist reveal, which sucks as the story has so much potential. In the right capable hands, a story of someone trying to find their long-lost family and then ending up in a horror situation can be pretty good but here, it falls flat. The story takes forever to get going and once it does start to pick up the pace the movie was almost over. I know that horror movies need time to set up the setting and dynamics but this movie just did WAY too much of that. I've heard a lot of people say this and honestly, I agree with them that this story would be better as a RomCom. The two leads, more on them later, have chemistry between the two of them that just gets wasted because of the story of this movie. If it had been a RomCom movie it might've been one I actually enjoyed as it would've been a unique movie. I quickly touched on this earlier but my biggest issue with this movie wasn't the story for this movie, I already figured the trailer spoiled the whole movie, but the pacing of the movie. This movie is a horror thriller movie and the pacing for this movie didn't match that one bit. It had slower pacing to it which can be effective in the right kind of horror movie but definitely not here. I guess the slow pacing of this movie was supposed to help keep the suspense of wondering what's really happening in the manor but like I said the trailer already ruined that mystery so it wasn't effective. Also due to the slow pacing of the movie the ending for this movie gets severely rushed.
The ending for this movie just isn't satisfactory and just leaves the audience scratching their heads wondering what just happened. The ending also leaves on kind of a cliffhanger that doesn't need to be a cliffhanger and I wish it had ended earlier. While watching this movie I was preparing myself to say other than the acting in this movie the cinematography for this movie was great and then the more I thought about it the less I enjoyed it. The part I enjoyed of the cinematography was the set design for the manor. The manor itself was gorgeous and had this unease about it right from the get-go. I feel like I would rewatch this movie just to try and pick up the subtle details in the design work for this manor as I feel like I missed a bunch. Another element that works but only to a certain extent is the lighting for this movie. The lighting for this movie creates a great atmosphere and adds to the gothic nature of the manor but it also has a downside as I said that's because this is a horror movie and horror movies are supposed to have scares in them and due to the darkened lighting it's hard to see them. You can kind of tell based on the shadows if something scary is going to happen but for the most part, you can't see them and it just seems like something in the background. Now, these kinds of scares can work but they need to be directed properly and unfortunately for this movie that didn't happen. Now, I know that Jessica M. Thompson did her best with this movie especially with this being her first feature film but unfortunately there were some questionable directing choices. As I said most of them just surround the scares in this movie but also with death scenes in this movie. I won't fully go into detail about the death scenes for this movie but all I'll say is they don't match the 14A rating at all. I already mentioned this but really the only fully good element of this movie is the acting in it. The acting for this movie both worked for whichever story you decide to watch this movie as. If you decide to watch this story like it's a Vampire romance or a horror movie it is the acting works for both versions.
This fully steams to the main two actors Nathalie Emmanuel and Thomas Doherty, who plays Walter. The two of them surprisingly had decent chemistry together and made this movie slightly enjoyable. I really enjoyed Nathalie Emmanuel's performance as Evie that even without the romance element she would've stood out the most. She plays Evie in such a modern final girl way and even though she might not be the best final girl out there she still proved how smart she is even with the story does have her making some dumb decisions. But for me personally, the standout performance of the movie is Thomas Doherty. He plays Walter in such a manipulative and conniving way that if you were in this situation you would trust him. When you first meet Walter you can easily tell there's something off about him and if you didn't watch the trailer you're wondering what's fully up with him. Even the side actors were really good in this movie even if you don't get to see them as much. In the end, The Invitation had the potential to be a really good movie but because of the trailer it just falls short. If you go see this movie just play the fun game of switching the genre depending on what's happening in the scene.
Reviewed by benjaminskylerhill3 / 10
Endearingly hot garbage
The Invitation is a horror film made for people who like Hallmark movies.
Just about the entire first hour of the movie plays out like a generic Hallmark romance between a suave English gentleman and an ordinary American girl. Generic charming dialogue, a will-they-won't-they sequence, the lonely wealthy man in need of companionship, it's all there.
The only difference is that the occasional lifeless, predictable jump scare sequence is peppered in throughout to serve as a reminder that not all is well with this picture-perfect romance-that something sinister is being hidden.
Sure enough, a twist does come, and it comes as a surprised to no one with more than two functioning brain cells.
Then, the cherry on top of this poorly executed tale is a finale that consists of low-energy, choppily edited fight scenes where the villains do every stupid thing that they possibly can to allow our heroine to win the day. Not to mention the inexcusably bad CGI fire pervading the ending.
Now, this movie is bad. Really bad. But it's not without its merit. I found a great deal of the film absolutely hilarious. I enjoyed myself greatly. Not for any of the reasons that the filmmakers wanted me to, but still, enjoyment was found. There is a place for cheese, and there is an abundance of it to be found here.
If you're a Hallmark movie fan looking for a darker twist on your cheesy entertainment, this is definitely the movie for you.