The Reel Review
A woman mourning the recent death of her mother discovers via a popular online DNA test that she has some wealthy aristocratic relatives in England. Invited to their lavish estate in the remote countryside for a wedding, she discovers that her charming host has sinister plans for her in this horror/thriller.
Set in a mansion that looks replicated from the Resident Evil 4 video game, The Invitation is a total rip-off of the way more fun and interesting 2019 horror/thriller Ready or Not that starred Samara Weaving – just lacking any of that film’s cleverness, dry humor and gore (The Invitation is PG-13, after all). Then production values are solid, despite taking what seems like an eternity to get to the action.
Director/co-writer Jessica M. Thompson (The Light of the Moon) actually does a nice job building intrigue in that lengthy first hour set up, only to be completely undone by the flimsy reveal she co-wrote with Blair Butler that, thanks to the trailer’s big spoiler, isn’t at all revealing. Nathalie Emmanuel (Game of Thrones) and Thomas Doherty (Gossip Girl, The Lodge) do about as good a job as possible, despite some clumsy visual effects, trite dialogue and a bland and jarringly rushed finalé. The Invitation is remarkable only in how unremarkable it is.
• Nathalie Emmanuel played Missandei, the slave turned counselor to Daenerys Targaryen, in Game of Thrones.
• Filmed in Budapest and at the Nádasty Mansion in Hungary, the R rated version of The Invitation has more gore, more violence and more nudity.
• Thomas Doherty replaced Garrett Hedlund (Mudbound, Country Strong) after he dropped out of the project.
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