The Invitation, from director Karyn Kusama, is a dark thriller featuring Logan Marshall-Green as Will, a man who has accepted his ex-wife’s invitation to meet up for a diner party and gathering of old friends. But then it turns out shit’s just as weird as you think it would be, because this is a horror movie and something has to happen.
I really want to like this. I really want to suggest it. But I can’t.
Right off the bat: when this movie is on point, it’s on fuckin’ point. The acting, the tension, the inevitable violence. All effective. All engaging. All compelling. Marshall-Green is great in the role of this tortured man who continues to struggle with the violent implosion of his family and subsequent social isolation.
But then there’s the rest of the movie.
The simple fact is that the movie is just too long and too slow. It takes forever for things to get going in an interesting direction. It’s very uninterested in getting to the plot because it loves squeezing out every last possible character interaction and quiet moment. Everyone talks a little weird and as if they’re one glass of wine away from passing out. It’s too quiet. Too subtle. Too indulgent. And it likely could have shaved off five or ten minutes of these long pauses and drawn out little moments easy without actually losing anything of value, if only to keep the focus on the strange, tense everything else.
Once something happens though, you almost want to forgive it.
The Invitation is a great idea with great thrills and great acting and great character moments. It’s just too sluggish and long in the tooth. The first act is too slow. The second act is too long and aimless. And while that third act is almost good enough to make the hour-plus build up worth it, it’s still not good enough. Because a movie that spends two-thirds of its time not properly respecting your time is also a movie one-hundred percent not worth it.