Criticism of ‘The Invitation’ (2022): how to waste a good idea

The invitation it is a story of vampires that is too average and predictable, that misses its main asset and loses itself. It opens in theaters this Friday, September 16.

The invitation brings us back to one of the most exploited monsters in cinema, the vampires. We have been able to see from faithful adaptations to the original work of bram stoker‘Dracula’, to complete reinterpretations like ‘Twilight‘, where vampires are emos who shine in the sunlight, and comedies like ‘What we do in the shadows‘, where their customs are mocked. In The invitationthe vampires take on their most familiar role as the rich and powerful of society, while a human guest joins them during the weekend. The director Jessica M Thompson draws inspiration from several recent and successful horror films like ‘let me out’ of jordan peele or ‘wedding night’ to try to pull off the tape, but it fails miserablyleaving us an outline of a horror movie that hides its vampires behind a lifeless love story.

The invitation introduces us to Evieinterpreted by Nathalie Emmanuel (Missandei in ‘Game of Thrones’), a New York catering company waitress who is fed up with her dead-end job, desperate to follow her passion for pottery, and still reeling from the recent death of her mother. One day, Evie decides to have a DNA study done to find new relatives, since she no longer has anyone left. The test connects her to a previously unknown branch of her family that belongs to the upper class of English society. After various events, Evie is invited to a mysterious wedding in an English country estate.where she meets and quickly falls in love with the enigmatic owner Walter, played by Thomas Doherty. That’s where your weekend will start where weirder things will start to happen every time.

This series of events, although they seem introductory, require almost all the execution time of the 105 minutes of the film. But how is that possible? If I’ve seen the trailer and… and yes, makes you believe that the film is much more focused on the presence of vampires, when we only see them in the last 25 minutes of the filmwhile in the rest crappy horror scenes are dosed in the style ‘the nun‘. This ‘bait’ trailer practice is becoming more and more common and the film’s shift from the trailer to a dubious human/vampire romance wouldn’t be a big deal if the film was willing to invest in the gothic style and terrifying atmosphere that helps make vampire love stories timelessly creepy. Nevertheless, Thompson is content with awkward, artificial flirtationas bland as a Netflix teen series.

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Everything feels pre-made and predictable

Sony Pictures UK

Even though the story of The invitation relies almost exclusively on viewers believing that Walter is subtly seducing Evie, both actors do not have much chemistry beyond being attractive people. The rigid, heavy and clearly prefabricated dialoguewhere naturalness reigns by its absence, never manages to make any of the characters interesting and hardly leaves any room for the actors to add any genuine emotion to the budding relationship. The invitation is desperate to try to replicate the uncomfortable terror that Jordan Peele magnificently managed to bring us in ‘Let Me Out’, not realizing that part of what made that movie so creepy is the implication of a significant, loving relationship between the lead and one of the villains, which began long before the movie began, in a less rushed and natural way.

The invitation it’s the kind of movie where the main character doesn’t seem to have seen many other horror movies. The luxurious estate with the typical haunted mansion, the creepy butler who prevents you from entering rooms, references to the recent death of a family member, barred windows in the guest room, weird noises at night, missing maids, visions of monsters that are ‘mistaken’ for nightmares, etc. No cliche left to gobut our protagonist seems not to notice anything, adding another aspect that takes you completely out of the film because you can’t believe anything that’s happening.

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You came to see a scary movie, right?

The invitation
Sony Pictures UK

Finally, the last minutes arrive and the film becomes what Sony had promised me with the trailers, right? either. The invitation happens to be a vampire slayer action movie in the style ‘Blade through a scene where the cake is discovered. The film seems determined to reveal this information as an unexpected twist, but considering that it constitutes most of something that has been chewed throughout the film, which is more than evident and is revealed almost completely in the trailers gives the feeling that the director thinks that the viewer is not smart enough. the action itself behind the scenes ‘revelation’ is mostly mediocre and bloodless, without ever reaching the vertiginous violence of ‘Wedding Night’. Although the worst of all is that it seems that the film at this point does not take itself seriouslyas the scenes come to seem comical before impressive.

The invitation it’s a pastiche of infinitely better horror stories that never gets off the ground. You can make vampires do almost anything in the movies, but The invitation makes vampires boring placing too much trust in cheap jumpscares and almost teenage romanceswhich is a shame, because the idea originally had a lot of potential.

Criticism of ‘The Invitation’ (2022): how to waste a good idea