Sunday, March 19, 2017

The Invitation - An Overrated Overly Long Psychological Mystery Thriller

Yesterday noon after dropping my mom to the airport and accompanying my wife to a food tasting function, we moved to another mall in Central Park which coincidentally having 1 of the only few remaining cinemas that still showed this movie. I was interested in seeing this one but it was so difficult as it was only playing in 2 cinema chains and even those were only at a few theaters. It had been playing for a little over a week now, and I was very fortunate I still managed to get the ticket for 3.30PM show at 3.35PM (I think the ticket purchase model where audience could also buy food at the same booth was not too efficient. I believe a separate booth for buying tickets and snacks would be much better. But that's only my opinion). Anyway, let us get on to the movie itself, shall we?

Brief Story Line

After 2 years of separation, Will (Logan Marshall-Green - Prometheus etc) went back to his old house where he used to be married to his ex-wife Eden (Tammy Blanchard - Moneyball, Into the Woods etc). He got the invitation from her who wanted to have a reunion with a group of their best friends. Will went together with his current girl friend Kira (Emayatzy Corinealdi - Middle of Nowhere, Addicted etc).

When they reached the location, they met with Eden and her new boyfriend David (Michiel Huisman - The Age of Adaline etc) and the rest of the gang. They included Gina (Michelle Krusiec - Dumb and Dumberer: When Harry Met Lloyd etc) who was waiting for her boyfriend Choi, Tommy (Mike Doyle - Max Steel etc) with his boyfriend Miguel (Jordi Vilasuso - All My Children TV series etc) and also Ben (standup comedian Jay Larson) plus Claire (Marieh Delfino). There was also an additional guest named Sadie (Lindsay Burdge) whom Eden and David just met in Mexico.

During this encounter, it was very obvious there was a lot of tension between Will and also Eden. There seemed to be something very dark and sad happened in the past that resulted to their separation. Even the group also seemed to be trying their best to accommodate Will and Eden's feelings. Will was a bit suspicious of David as he acted a bit strange. Not to mention there was another guest who came to the meeting named Pruitt (John Carrol Lynch - Ted 2, Body of Proof TV series etc). He was also someone that Eden and David met in Mexico.

After passing through so many awkward moments, David and Eden later on tried to show something they experienced in Mexico through a video. Apparently it was a life defining moments with the help from a group led by Dr. Joseph (Toby Huss). The video shown did not make these old friends comfortable and in fact it made them less impressed as it seemed to be a cult recruitment. Nevertheless, they continued with their reunion program. Will actually grew more and more suspicious with David and also Pruitt. He could not take it that Eden had moved on from the tragedy so easily. And he was also very suspicious of Choi who had not reached to the location yet.

So what was actually happening in this reunion? Is there really something going on with David and Pruitt and Sadie? Was Will having valid reasons to suspect them all? And what actually happened 2 years ago? Find them all in this psychological drama thriller.

End of Brief Story Line

Well after watching this movie, I was a bit disappointed. My disappointment was actually the overly long time for the build up of the climax. I think 1+ hour to reach the very suspenseful part was a bit long. Of course the build up was necessary, but I felt that making it a bit shorter may actually be better. The tense and mystery surrounding the first hour was good, but I truly believe it did not require that long to take and the slow pace was actually made myself very bored. I could still enjoy slow pace that took just the right amount of time, but the movie itself was only 100 minutes. 

Apart from the build up, the climax itself was actually pretty good. The later part was very tense and suspenseful and was convincingly good. The movie did not have a lot of special effects and its main focus was obviously the suspense at the end. For a low budget psychological trailer (there was no star power at all in the movie), it would probably be more satisfying if you watch a psychological horror movie such as Don't Breathe.    

The music background was one of the good thing as well for the movie. I think it successfully created the eerie and mysterious feeling in the build up part. While the sound effects was pretty decent especially during the "shocking" moments/scenes where they successfully made us felt the tension and shocks. The surprise twist at the very end was also quite good.

I saw that the movie was having high rating in a lot of websites. This is actually one of the reasons that I am having trouble in accepting people's views in those websites. Some movies that I found very low in rating I actually could still enjoy, whereas some films that have exceptionally high rating was pretty decent or not really enjoyable to me.

Anyway, to my honest opinion, I think this movie was one of those overrated psychological trailer which I believe was mostly not to general audience liking. I believe this was the reason for the movie only having limited release instead of wide release and went direct to video. Even reaching Indonesia also took so long (the movie was made in 2015 for God's sake and only played in March 2017).

So if you are looking for a good psychological mystery drama movie, maybe you could enjoy this one, but be ready with the long build up (though the climax was probably worthwhile to wait). But if you are looking for a more tense suspenseful movie, then this one definitely not for you. The choice is yours.

Mike's movie moments rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars

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