So this was a movie that I’d had in the queue for a couple of years because I’d seen a trailer for it on IMDb (as you do) and it looked like a good, creepy horror movie. The premise is that Will (Logan-Marshall Green) and his new girlfriend Kira (Emayatzy Corinealdi) are invited to a dinner party by Will’s ex-wife Eden (Tammy Blanchard) at the house where Will and Tammy used to live before they divorced after the tragic death of Will and Eden’s son Ty.
All of Will and Eden’s mutual friends are there as is Eden’s new live-in boyfriend, David (Michiel Huisman), whom she met at a grief-support group called “The Invitation”; Sadie (Lindsay Burdge), another group member who is living with them; and another member of that support group, Pruitt (John Carroll Lynch), who has come just for the party. As the evening goes on, things get a little strange, as Will keeps having flashbacks to moments of Ty’s life and David and Eden show the group a video of the group’s leader/guru and it seems like there’s something more new agey cult than support group to The Invitation.
I don’t want to get too much more into the plot except to say that you start to figure out where the movie might be going before it’s half over and while that does seem to be true, Will has so many issues and is so affected by the trauma of his son’s death (of course, who wouldn’t be) that there’s enough doubt planted to make you think that maybe all of this is in Will’s head and he’s being paranoid.
While there are slow parts of the film and times when you wish that they’d get to the point, the filmmakers make things tense enough so that when I started to wander away from it, I got sucked back in, and was thankfully not disappointed at the end. It is a very tense, psychological movie that deals with grief, trauma, and our susceptibility to “solutions” to our pain. The cast is largely unknown (I only recognized the actor who plays Pruitt as having played Frances McDormand’s husband in Fargo), and that makes the film even better because they do a great job and you feel like you are watching real people at the party. The lead character of Will is well-written, and while Logan Marshall-Green has a hipster “man of the mountains” beard that is distracting at times, he plays him with such sadness that we are right there with him in his grief. If you enjoy a slow burn with a lot of tension, you should watch this.
Buy, Rent, or Skip?