The Invitation (I) (2015)
I'd rather be left uninvited...
29 April 2016
Warning: Spoilers
What can I say, but next time leave me off the guest list. Basically this was 99 minutes of my life that I'll never get back. Everything about this movie was sub-par. The writing, directing, editing and the acting were mediocre at best. The premise of the movie is great, but the execution is miserable. Nothing, save for the last 15 minutes, had me captivated or even compelled to keep watching, and I would have stopped, but for some reason I kept expecting it to get better. I kept holding out hope that the last __(insert number of minutes here) minutes of trite drivel are finally justified, but that never truly happened. It was like the world's most boring, slow motion train wreck. Mind you, it isn't the worst film I've seen, but it certainly ranks pretty low on the list. Everything about the plot and supposed twists were pretty evident and foreshadowed obviously. Guy talks about a cult, guess what happens. Guy talks about killing his wife, guess what happens. Guy freaks out over someone missing from the party, guess what happens. And yeah, I had a pretty strong idea of what was going to happen when guy lit the red lamp. In essence, virtually every event in the beginning of the movie may as well have been a neon sign saying "Guess what happens next!".

Now, with films like this I never know who to blame, the writer or the editor. But someone needs to choose a different career path, because one of those two elements (or perhaps both) failed spectacularly. There was no actual character development. Nothing to genuinely explain why the main characters behaved the way they did. Oh sure, there was an attempt to do so, but that attempt was shallow and all but worthless. I get that the guy is mourning the loss of his son, that was explained pretty early on, but what's the reason for his bizarre and erratic behavior? Has he always acted that way, or is he still that deeply traumatized by his son's death 2 years earlier? Does he always snoop around people's houses? And why don't we ever see what actually happened to his son? The event itself seems to play pretty heavily to explain his mind set, but it's never fully revealed. Maybe if we knew what happened to his son it would help us relate to this character, but no, we're robbed of that opportunity and he becomes another dull, lifeless character in a dull, lifeless film.

Insofar as the directing is concerned, meh, I've seen vastly better. I think, overall, the direction was handled thusly...

Director to Actor: "You act crazy and unhinged because this dinner party has reignited your unresolved grief over the loss of your son"

Director to other Actors: "You all act like you don't know what his problem is because it wasn't your kid that died in some mysterious fashion"

Director to all Actors: "And remember, getting an invitation out of the blue to see a group of people you haven't seen for years after their one of their kids died and was buried isn't slightly odd at all, so act like everything is normal...except for Mr. Unhinged."

Since all of the characters have the depth of a puddle, directing this movie doesn't seem like it was much of a challenge, and presumably didn't take any more effort than the writing or editing.

Overall, the film has all of the look and feel of either a film school drop-out's mediocre attempt at mediocrity, or a first-year film school student's first project. Either way, not the stuff of legend, and certainly not worth the hype.

If your goal is to see an incredibly well thought out and put together film, pick another. If you're really into seeing good concepts ruined tragically, then this is the movie for you!
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