ignore the weird things people say. We are socially conditioned to explain away
odd statements. We want to think so-and-so “just didn’t realize how that
sounded.” Unfortunately, this just sets us up for even worse awkwardness. A
grieving father recognizes the bizarre nature of his ex-wife’s cult, but his
ragingly anti-social behavior will not help his cause in Karyn Kusama’s The Invitation (trailer here), which releases
today in a special BluRay-DVD-digital bundle.
Will and Eden’s son Ty died in a freak accident, it killed their marriage as
well. For the last two years, he has tortured himself, while Eden disappeared
off the face of the earth. It turns out she was in Mexico with her future second
husband David and members of a supposed grief support group called Invitation.
However, even David Miscavige would admit they display cult like tendencies.
Plus, the leader vaguely resembles Wayne Dyer.
finally returned her luxurious house in the Hills, where she once lived with
David and Ty, Eden throws a homecoming party for her old friends. She also
invites Will and his relatively new significant other, Kira. Pruitt and Sadie,
two of Eden’s fellow cult members are also there to give Will bad vibes. Before
long they bust out the cult recruitment videos, but everyone except Will is
still willing to give them the benefit of the doubt.
rapid cuts, Kusama shows us brief, nearly subliminal flashbacks, flashforwards,
or representations of Will’s inner emotional turmoil. It is intended to keep us
off-balance and guessing whether Will or David and Eden are the nutty ones, but
it only clouds the narrative.
Kusama is spot-on in the ways she depicts the other guests bending over
backward to explain away the dubious behavior of Eden and David and Pruitt and
Sadie. Kasuma and screenwriters Phil Hay & Matt Manfredi perfectly nail the
ways cults manipulate people. It is a pretty darned frightening process to
all the time Will spends sulking on his own ought to be a credibility problem,
considering he is at a dinner party with old friends, but you can hardly blame
him. The only guest who seems like any fun is Michelle Krusiec’s hard partying
Gina, but at least she gives the film constant energy boosts. As Will, Logan
Marshall-Green broods like a monster. John Carroll Lynch (Marge Gunderson’s
husband in Fargo) is creepy as heck as Pruitt. Likewise, Michiel Huisman’s David is smoothly
sinister, but Tammy Blanchard’s drugged out expression and Morticia Addams
wardrobe are dead giveaways as to Eden’s true colors.
Eden’s well-appointed home is also a real design
triumph. Looking both tony and eerie, it facilitates the story quite remarkably.
Periodically, Kusama will push the envelope of credibility, but when she simply
lets events unspool, it is uncomfortably believable. Definitely recommended for
horror fans (despite some quibbles along the margin), The Invitation is now available on BluRay/DVD from Drafthouse/MVD.
Labels: DVD, Horror Movies, Michelle Krusiec, Movie cults