Review: Crafty thriller ‘The Invitation’ packs a punch

Adam Graham
The Detroit News

The less you know about “The Invitation” going into it the better off you are.

That makes discussing this crafty, surprise-filled little thriller a tricky proposition, but here goes:

Will (Logan Marshall-Green) and his girlfriend, Kira (Emayatzy Corinealdi), receive an invitation to a dinner party. The hosts are Eden (Tammy Blanchard), Will’s ex-wife, with whom he shares an unresolved tragedy, and her new husband, David (Michiel Huisman).

Eden packed up and left town two years ago, and the dinner party is her attempt to reconnect with old friends. Several other couples are also invited to drink wine and break bread.

But there’s something else afoot at this party, and there are peculiarities Will can’t overlook. Why does no one’s cell phone work, and why is David keeping the front door locked? And who are those strangers (Lindsay Burdge and John Carroll Lynch) who were also invited to the party?

“The Invitation” is a slow burn, and it takes its time — a little too much time — showing its hand. But this crafty tale has a wallop in store, and its unnerving final shot hits like a splash of cold water to the face.

Director Karyn Kusama (“Girlfight”), returning to her indie roots after misfiring with “Aeon Flux” and “Jennifer’s Body,” lets things unfold slowly and methodically and keeps the tension level high by playing with viewers’ sense of balance and comfort.

The final moments replace one lump in your throat with another, but that’s plenty of information.

Accept “The Invitation” and don’t ask any more questions.

(313) 222-2284


‘The Invitation’


Not rated: Contains violence, sexuality, language and nudity

Running time: 100 minutes