By Leslie Byron Pitt @Afrofilmviewer
Karyn Kusama’s The Invitation would play well in a dining room disaster triple bill with last year’s dining room sci-fi Coherence (2014) and Hitchcock’s Rope (1948). It’s a deceptive film, which at its surface presents itself as a conventional B movie thriller in its own right. Yet Kusama (Jennifer’s Body) is not one to play along with typical formality.
While The Invitation is best viewed with little to no background knowledge about its story, it will not shock too many from a narrative standpoint. Horror/Thriller veterans will happily run along the tracks with the knowledge of the films destination. Kusama’s film rattles the cages, however in smaller subversions. The cast alone does its best to represent strong diversity without making a big deal out of it.
Before ramping up into overdrive, Kusama joyfully toys with cult imagery in a winking way that’s hard not to smile at. The sexually provocative girl in a grubby dress named Sadie? See Manson. The calm, bald headed communion leader? See Heaven’s Gate. The film’s placement of footnotes and darkly humorous demeanour does well to distract viewers as the film dangles a knife over its protagonist, Will (Logan Marshall-Green) as well as the audience.
Like most films of its ilk, it soon ramps into overdrive as its final revelations are gleefully delivered. Yet, the film never outstays its welcome and satisfyingly finishes with a final shot that slyly subverts the status quo with a large dose of succulence.
The Invitation is in cinemas this week as part of The London Film Festival, listings here.