The Invitation has been lurking on Netflix for a few years, but I finally caught up with it the other day. The premise is simple: A man and his wife are invited to a mysterious dinner with his ex-wife and their old friends, somewhere near LA. Throughout the evening, old wounds are reopened, raw nerves jabbed, and it transpires the hosts intend the evening as a sort-of recruitment for a cult they have joined.
Director Karyn Kusama and writers Phil Hay and Matt Manfredi prove adept at slow-burning tension. We’re constantly aware the film is building to something horrible, but aren’t quite sure what. Performances are decent too, especially from Logan Marshall-Green and Tammy Blanchard. Yes, you’ll probably hate most of these entitled narcissists, but seeing what nastiness lies in store for them is part of the fun. The sudden lurch to violence in the finale isn’t exactly unexpected, but it is effective for the most part, with a cleverly ambiguous sting in the tail.
Well worth a look for genre fans.
UK Certificate: 15
US Certificate: R
Content warnings: Strong language, violence, sexual references.