Monday, October 03, 2016
Will and Kira are headed to a gathering at Will’s former home high in the Hollywood Hills. His ex-wife, Eden, who has not been seen in two years, along with her new husband, David, is hosting a get-together, reuniting old friends. Following a disturbing incident with a coyote, the two eventually arrive and are warmly greeted by their friends. Toasting “new beginnings”, David breaks out the expensive wine and everyone gets cozy except for Will who is inexplicably uneasy. Joining the festivities are two new people, Sadie and an older balding man. Eden explains that they met the two while visiting a community in Mexico where they learned how to deal with trauma.
While everyone imbibes, David breaks out his laptop and shows a recruitment video. The partiers are informed that the “Invitation” is the name of a lifestyle fad, a self-help group (with cult-like overtones) and vague messages of personal improvement. The video ends on a disturbing note. When Will makes the observation that Eden and David and their “new” friends are weird another partier remarks, “Yeah, they’re a little weird. But this is L.A. They’re harmless.” Will becomes increasingly paranoid and is convinced that something more sinister is afoot.
“The Invitation” strikes the right tone showcasing the awkwardness of forced conversation with friends you have not seen in many years and seeing your ex with a new partner. Yet beyond these contrivances are menacing overtones. Through flashbacks we learn about Will’s relationship to Eden and why things ended. The film constantly questions whether Will is just being jealous/paranoid or is something bad happening in the house? This is a slow-burn with a very satisfying ending. I did not know a single thing going into the film and I would recommend the same approach. Catch it on Netflix!