Self-assured and very conscious of its pacing in every sense, “The Invitation” is a sombre, tense take on the “dinner party from hell” mystery/thriller/horror subgenre.
The film does an excellent job of building up its tension and layering its character relationships so when the ugliness of the third act begins, it feels as much catharsis as horror. The sound design does a particularly good job of accentuating the oddities and darkness of the first two acts, which play more like a comedy of manners than anything else. The protaganist’s reliability is toyed with interestingly as well, and not in any cliche visual ways that might’ve made the film too much a guessing game.
It’s perhaps not as surprising as it wants to be, but as a riff on the 60s-ness of today and the sort of Mansonian ‘salvation’ horror lurking around grief narratives, it does a very good job. Three and a half pills, and a snuff tape.