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The Invitation

Astute Vampires, rapid thrills and a rushed resolve. 

Enlisted as the audience of this poorly paced horror flick, directed by Jessica M. Thompson, we follow Evelyn (Nathalie Emmanuel) on her blind pursuit to connect with her only living relatives, but as usual, all isn't as it seems. 

Following the recent death of her mother, an orphaned Evelyn is determined to find some living relatives. Set in our time line, she is given a DNA kit which unravels a long lineage of a wealthy aristocratic family, based in England. This film plays on a subconscious fear that I believe is felt by many, in regards to sending your DNA off, not knowing what creatures will crawl from the woodworks. Lone behold, Evelyn soon wishes she had never pondered on gifting her identity to the unknown.  

Emmanuel's delivery as our protagonist establishes a kind and natural openness which remains to be the winner of our hearts as the mystery unravels from a too-good-to-be-true getaway to a twisted vampire cult trap that eventually haunts Evelyn forever. Already the equilibrium of this story had a lot of potential. However, contrasting to the outcast narrative of Jordan Peeles ‘Get Out’, at the very climax, foils of rushed explanations were cheaply poured away to match Evie as a noble hero/survivor against the deceiving immortal lord. 

As no surprise, one of Evelyn’s distant cousins arises from the depths of England and travels to New York with a wish to connect with Evelyn. Convincing her to travel back to the luscious green of the UK’s sterling ridden countryside, we are thrown into the captivating visuals of this mystic grand setting. This film holds many surprises, a few jump scares to be precise but once again (like so many films of recent) it lacks any actual goal, substance or controversy. There's a prevalent absence of voice. This is due to the dialogue that focused more on melodramatic professing of feelings rather than exploring racial or social implications that we could infer from the choice of contrasting backgrounds. 

Scene after scene, the textures of the picture are beautifully detailed in the foreground yet delicately soft in background. The flow of the dialogue gels into narration as our protagonist is courted by the charm of her pursuer, Walter (Thomas Doherty). This gives an intimate and personal feel towards Evie, which overwhelmingly stimulates us at times of her stress or lust.

Immaculately done, however it becomes overused when we are entrapped for 2 hours in a story that doesn't really go anywhere. Linking back to Evie's pursuit, her overall goal is to escape this macabre tradition that is upheld by three families eager for financial benefit and in doing so are concealing the true identities of the world's most laboured creature: ‘The vampire’. But this has all been done before and with much better care. 

2022 saw the release of Mark Gatiss’s & Steven Moffat’s phenomenally well constructed ‘Dracula’ - a three part series on BBC. We’ve all seen Twilight and the many rehashes of the ‘Dracula’ legend, so a story of such recurrence must be displayed with a unique nature to it. ‘The Invitation’ did not have this. Polished Hollywood characters litter our screen, reducing the already lacking realism.  

I believe the dynamic of all characters in this movie was uncompelling; there was simply not enough conviction from the antagonist nor the protagonist due to the indirectly affecting intentions. Evie was not only continuously manipulated; easily relieved by seduction but wasn’t strong in her pursuit to learn about her “family”, which furthermore questioned the integrity of our so-called hero's strength and will. As for Walt, his motive relied on unsophisticated charm and a group of intolerable, shallow and condescendingly passive vampires, to say the least. 

The Invitation, is unforgiving in its delivery of boring, generic and predictable vampires. It suffers the consequence of passively jabbing at social and racial disputes without any strong persuasion of will. 

1/5 ⭐️

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