how to waste a good idea

the invitation it’s too average and predictable a vampire story that wastes its main card and gets lost in itself. It opens in cinemas this Friday, September 16.

the invitation brings us back to one of the most exploited monsters in cinema, vampires. We have been able to see from faithful adaptations of Bram Stoker’s original work, ‘Dracula’, to complete reinterpretations like ‘Crepuscle’, where the vampires are em that shine in the sunlight, and comedies like ‘What we do in the shadows’, where their customs are the object of ridicule. A the invitationvampires assume their more familiar role as the rich and powerful of society, while a human guest joins it during the weekend. Director Jessica M. Thompson takes inspiration from several recent and successful horror films like ‘Let Me Out’ by Jordan Peele or ‘Wedding Night’ to try to carry out the tape, but it fails miserablyleaving us with a horror movie sketch that hides its vampires behind a lifeless love story.

the invitation introduces us to Evie, played by Nathalie Emmanuel (Missandei on ‘Game of Thrones’), a waitress at a catering company in New York who is fed up with her dead-end job, desperate to follow her passion for ceramics and still recovering of the recent death of his mother. One day, Evie decides to do a DNA study to find new relatives, since she has no one left. The evidence connects her to a previously unknown branch of the family that belongs to the upper class of English society. After several events, Evie is invited to a mysterious wedding at an English estatewhere she meets and quickly falls in love with the enigmatic owner Walter, played by Thomas Doherty. This is where your weekend will begin where more and more rare things will start to happen.

This series of events, while seemingly introductory, takes up almost all of the runtime of the 105 minutes of the film. But how is this possible?, if I have seen the trailer and… and yes, leads you to believe that the film is much more focused on the presence of vampires, when we only see them in the last 25 minutes of the filmwhile the rest are dosed with shabby horror scenes in the style of ‘The Nun’. This ‘bait’ trailer practice is becoming more and more common and the film’s shift from the trailer to a dubious human-vampire romance wouldn’t be a big deal if the film was willing to invest in the gothic style and terrifying atmosphere that helps make the stories of vampire love are timelessly creepy. However, Thompson settles for an awkward, artificial flirtationas bland as a Netflix teen series.

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Everything feels pre-made and predictable

the invitation
Sony Pictures Spain

Although the story of the invitation relies almost exclusively on viewers believing that Walter is subtly seducing Evie, both actors do not have much chemistry beyond being attractive people. The dialogue is stiff, heavy and clearly prefabricatedwhere nature reigns by its absence, never manages to make any of the characters interesting and barely leaves room for the actors to add genuine emotion to the relationship on the plains. the invitation is desperate to try and replicate the uncomfortable terror that Jordan Peele so brilliantly managed to bring us in ‘Déjame salir’, not realizing that part of what made this film so creepy is the implication of a meaningful and loving relationship between the protagonist and one of the villains, which began long before the film, in a less run-down and natural way.

the invitation it’s the kind of movie where the main character doesn’t seem to have seen many other horror movies. The luxurious estate with the typical haunted mansion, the creepy butler who prevents you from entering rooms, references to the recent death of a family member, barred windows in the guest room, rare noises at night, maids that disappear, visions of monsters that are ‘confused’ with nightmares, etc. No cliché is left behindbut our protagonist doesn’t seem to notice anything, adding another aspect that completely takes you out of the film because you can’t believe anything that happens.

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He was coming to see a scary movie, wasn’t he?

the invitation
Sony Pictures Spain

Finally, the last few minutes come and the movie becomes what sony promised me with the trailers, right? neither. the invitation it happens to be a vampire slaying action film in pure Blade style through a scene where the cake is revealed to us. The film seems intent on revealing this information as an unexpected twist, but given that it’s the bulk of something that’s been chewed over throughout the film, that’s more than obvious and revealed almost completely in the trailers gives the feeling that the director thinks that the viewer is not smart enough. The action itself after the ‘reveal’ scene it’s mostly mediocre and bloodless, never reaching the dizzying violence of ‘Wedding Night’. Although the worst of all is that it feels like the film at this point doesn’t take itself seriouslysince the scenes come to seem comical rather than impressive.

the invitation it’s a pastiche of infinitely better horror stories that never quite takes off. You can make vampires do almost anything in the movies, though the invitation makes vampires boring placing too much trust in cheap jumpscars and almost teenage romanceswhich is a shame, because the idea had a lot of potential at first.

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