The Invitation is a 2022 American supernatural horror movie that Jessica M. Thompson, Blair Butler, and Emile Gladstone co-wrote, directed, and co-wrote. Nathalie Emmanuel and Thomas Doherty both appear in the movie. The movie, which was influenced by Bram Stoker’s novel Dracula, centres on a young woman who meets her family for the first time following the death of her mother only to learn the sinister secrets they are hiding.
The film, which was first titled The Bride, was being made by Sam Raimi and Robert Tapert’s Ghost House Pictures, with Butler penning the script. Raimi and Tapert left the project, though, because of scheduling issues. By 2020, the title of the movie had been revealed; Butler and Thompson would co-write and direct it, while The Curse of La Llorona producer Emile Gladstone would serve as a producer. Casting calls took place between May and October 2021.
Sony Pictures Releasing presented The Invitation on August 26, 2022, in the United States. You may decide whether or not to see the movie by reading our review of it below.
The Invitation Plot
Evie gets a DNA test after her mother’s death to identify any lost family she may have. When a cousin shows up, she’s thrilled. Her new cousin Oliver (Hugh Skinner) invites her to a wedding in England, saying “everyone’s itching to see you.” Everyone?
As she arrives at the wedding and meets Walter (Thomas Doherty), she observes strange things. When she’s touring the mansion they’re staying in, the staff is lined up and entering a chamber. She’s told to go to bed but hesitates. Later, she slashes her cuticle during a manicure, and a woman puts her finger in her mouth to wash away the blood, shocking Evie. What’s going on with the employees that night, and why would someone who just met her suck blood off her finger?
She wasn’t told Evie and Walter were getting married when she decided to make the trip. When toasting them as a pair at dinner, it’s evident they like human blood. Evie runs away to avoid getting married. Questions abound. Oliver’s sister? Why was she Walter’s wife? She’s a vampire?
“She uncovers dark truths in her family’s background and the frightening motivations behind their wicked generosity,” suggests this has been happening for decades. Evie and her mother decided to visit England to see family, according to the teaser. Did her mother know about the visit?
The film’s inspiration, Dracula, provides Evie a glimpse of what she may face. The trailer shows Walter with fangs, leading people to believe her new family has a passion for blood and lives on it.
The Invitation Cast
- Nathalie Emmanuel as Evie
- Alana Boden as Lucy (Westenra)
- Courtney Taylor as Grace
- Thomas Doherty as Walter
- Stephanie Corneliussen as Viktoria
- Hugh Skinner as Oliver
- Sean Pertwee as Mr. Fields
The Invitation Release & Response
On August 26, 2022, the movie was released in theatres in the US. The Invitation, which debuted in theatres with Three Thousand Years of Longing and Breaking in the US and Canada, is expected to bring in about $7 million in its first weekend. From previews on Thursday night, the movie brought in $775,000.
29% of the 24 reviews from reviewers on the review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes are favourable, with an overall rating of 4.9/10. According to the website’s user reviews, “The Invitation is ultimately too predictable to excite as either a romance or a horror thriller, despite a genuinely likeable heroine and a refreshingly light touch.”
Based on reviews from nine reviewers, the weighted average review site Metacritic gave the movie a 47/100 rating, indicating “mixed or mediocre reviews.”
The Invitation Review
These last idle days of summer are boring. “The Invitation” is probably a “no.”
It had tremendous potential, too. Jessica M. Thompson’s disturbing tone evokes a dark, twisted universe. Her film becomes black and herky-jerky, making it hard to discern what’s happening. When the twist reveals what’s happening, you’re like, Really? That’s it? The trailer gives it away (as most do), but we’re all about having the best moviegoing experience (even if it’s mediocre), so we’ll avoid spoilers.
Nathalie Emmanuel as Evelyn—or Evie—is attractive. The “Game of Thrones” actress is stunning, yet her genuineness makes her approachable. When her too-good-to-be-true English countryside vacation goes south, we stick by her.
Evie is a struggling New York artist and waitress. After her mother’s death, she feels alone and adrift and seeks identity through DNA testing. Turns out, she’s got a number of cousins, and they’re all British, and quite white.
But the script from Thompson and Blair Butler just skims the surface of examining the racial ramifications of this connection. When an excessively excited second cousin (Hugh Skinner) invites Evie to a wealthy family wedding at a sumptuous English estate, she arrives and learns she’s the only person of colour outside the maids. Nope.
Her best friend Grace (Courtney Taylor) is doubtful, but Evie feels at home. Yes, maids wear numbered uniforms. Strange. Sean Pertwee’s butler is arrogant. Hidden key opens off-limits library. However! Walter (a sexy Thomas Doherty) is very gorgeous with his piercing blue eyes, square jaw, and undone shirt. Not being Evie’s relative is a benefit.
Thompson relies too much on jump scares as the three-day festivities unfold, which is a shame because the film’s early mystery has enough atmosphere. A spa day for Evie and her gorgeous maids of honour is arranged and handled well. She could have built tension for the big reveal during a scary, veiled dinner party like “Eyes Wide Shut.”
Suddenly, “The Invitation” becomes a sillier movie. The campiness is jarring and unsatisfying. Thompson had a point. Instead, she recycles tired content.
Danielle Knox’s costumes are great. Emmanuel looks terrific even when mixing terror and humour.
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