Film of the Day (02/08/19): The Invitation

Written By Phil Hay and Matt Manfredi
Directed By Karyn Kusama

Since seeing Destroyer in the theater a few days ago, I’ve had it in my mind to seek out more of Kusama’s work, and after apparently reading my mind, Netflix recommended this little thriller. It has some elements that reminded me of The Gift, which I mean as a compliment, as that is one doozy of a mystery thriller. Once again, Kusama partners up with writing team Phil Hay and Matt Manfredi, and the team works wonders. You may suspect where this will end up within the first twenty or thirty minutes, but that won’t take away from the journey at all. This is psychological tension at its finest, slowly building steam toward an explosive finale and a final shot that borders on brilliance. I can’t say it will subvert all of your expectations because you experience it from the same point of view as the protagonist who is immediately skeptical over all of the niceties surrounding the dinner party, but it will still take you into territory you don’t see coming. It is very well acted, especially the turns from Logan Marshall-Green, John Carrol Lynch, Michael Huisman and Tammy Blanchard. Kusama’s direction and pacing are deliberate and focused, and the editing from Plummy Tucker is very well done. Theodore Shapiro’s score is intense and adds a perfect aura to a scene where people and their intentions aren’t what they seem. Bobby Shore’s cinematography is very good, making great use of the single-location setting and framing some truly great shots that will stick with me. If you have Netflix and haven’t seen this, add it to your list today!

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