Jessica Thompson’s “The Invitation” takes on a fresh perspective of the classic vampire story. “The Invitation” managed to retain the typical concept of vampires – blood-drinking, stake through the heart to kill a vampire thing – but they were able to convey it through a refreshing point of view of family, romance and drama. There was no shimmering under the sunlight though so, sorry “Twilight” fans!
“The Invitation” follows Evelyn Jackson (Nathalie Emmanuel) or Evie grieving the recent loss of her mother, decides to take a DNA test in hopes of finding other relatives. As Evie said, “It was always just my mom and me. To have a family, that’s all I really want.” Days later, Evie finds out that she has a mysterious distant family in England called the Alexanders. Through a website she met her long-lost cousin, Oliver Alexander (Hugh Skinner), who introduced her to the world of horrors (or soon she would learn).
At lunch with Oliver, Evie is invited to an upcoming family wedding and entertained the idea of meeting all of her other relatives. After some contemplating (and a generous offer from Oliver to pay for her flight tickets), the grieving Evie, desperately wanting to find comfort within a family, accepts his “invitation”, unaware of what lies ahead. Arriving at the wedding-to-be location, viewers are introduced to Walter De Ville (Thomas Doherty), an alluring aristocrat that immediately takes a liking to Evie. It’s not too soon after that Evie realises the nightmare she has put herself into.
The film gives off a spooky vibe right from the beginning, with the classic loud jump-scares and eerie music (kudos to that because there were several scenes that even got a couple of good screams from this writer!). Though, throughout the film it seems that the scary parts are too heavily relied on the loud sound effects and not the actual plot-line. It didn’t really get viewers to cover their eyes, cowering and searching for someone to jump onto so we wouldn’t call it a horror, but more along the lines of a thriller as it keeps you off the edge of your seat guessing what’s going to happen next.
The cinematography was aesthetically pleasing to the eyes, giving a dreamscape look to the film. Simultaneously, the film portrays Thompson’s talented direction as a filmmaker. Along with the ominous sound effects and brilliant acting, the film is overall a must-watch for thriller lovers.
Surprisingly, in this so-called horror film, the thing that stood out the most for us was the romance between the two main characters. Although short-lived, Evie and Walter De Ville were an honestly cute match. There was not a scene that was boring when the spotlight was on the two of them. For the hopeless romantics out there, “The Invitation” makes viewers hope that their relationship will survive (even if it is with a bloodsucking-murderer). Handsome, rich and charming, yet no woman should ever fall into the hands of Walter De Ville, especially knowing what happens behind closed doors!
The main stars, Emmanuel and Doherty successfully managed to showcase their charming chemistry on-screen. Emmanuel, most known as Missandei in “Game of Thrones” or as Gwendoline in “Army of Thieves” gives a great performance of Evie without ever reminding audiences of the former loyal adviser of Daenerys Targaryen. Doherty on the other hand, is most known as Max Wolfe on “Gossip Girl“, displays a brilliant portrayal of a daunting vampire, from mesmerising eyes to sharp teeth, he really resembles what you think of a bloodthirsty vampire. And together they make a sight worth seeing.
Viewers going into this film without a single idea of what it’s about will love the surprising twist. The exposition of the film is a pretty slow burn, with the traditional background introduction of Evelyn Jackson actually being Evelyn Alexander, so on and so forth, but once the story reaches the climax things start to take a turn for the better! The film ends leaving viewers anticipating for a sequel.
“The Invitation” reminds us of another film, “Ready or Not” and “Get Out” with an added slap of vampires and a few other changes here and there. If you are a fan of thriller films, “The Invitation” should be on your watch list as it is going to take you on a journey! Check out the trailer here;
“The Invitation” is in cinemas near you.
Puteri Teja contributed to this article.
After the death of her mother, Evelyn takes a DNA test and discovers a long-lost family she never knew. Making her journey to the English countryside, she soon realises the living nightmare she's about to face.
"The Invitation" Movie Review