Variety Review: ‘The Invitation’ (2015) Will Freeze Your Blood

“Everything does go to hell in the end, of course, as it must in any genre movie worth its salt, and “The Invitation” delivers the necessary jolts in satisfyingly visceral fashion without descending into Grand Guignol excess. Still, it’s in the slow-and-steady buildup — as opposed to the attenuated action climax or the slightly eye-rolling denouement — where the film excels, as Kusama (working with editor Plummy Tucker) keeps the tension simmering away beneath the sounds of clinking silverware and polite, nervous laughter. D.p. Bobby Shore’s elegantly skulking camera familiarizes us with virtually every inch of the house to which the action is confined, bathing the interiors in a seductively moody, almost amber glow. Phillip Blackford’s sound design adds to the eerie vibe, ensuring that we register every slammed door, shattered glass and cut-off scream with perfect clarity.”

-From the Variety (at SXSW) review by Justin Chang for “The Invitation”

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Good News: IFC Midnight Acquires Gritty Revenge-Horror Movie ‘Reversal’

Good news! IFC Midnight has picked up the brutal revenge thriller from director José Manuel Cravioto‘s “Reversal” after it screened at Sundance. We’ve read reviews that really hated it (Variety did not have even the hint of one positive thing to say about it) and others that enjoyed the ride (such as Big Shiny Robot, who said while the movie did have its flaws but called it “a hell of a ride) and many others recommended it to horror fans (well, those who can handle some pretty intense horror). Here’s a link to Film Threat’s positive review, for instance.

The movies starts out where plenty of similar movies often end: a woman in chains in the basement of a man who has kidnapped, tortured, and done God knows what else to her suddenly surprising her captor by vigorously beating the living shit out of him with a brick and coming out on top. However, she’s not going to kill him off completely, and she’s not calling 911. Instead of hastily taking off and getting as far away from him as she can, she is enraged enough to turn the tables on him and force him (using violence when she needs to) to give up the location of the other victims he has locked up. So yeah, we’re in.

Good to know the wait won’t be too long to see it. If only IFC Midnight had picked up the rights to Green Inferno…

Variety Says “At the Devil’s Door” Has More Creepy Restraint Than Jump-Scares – Read Their Review Here!

We’re hearing mixed things about this flick, so we’re going to wait for it to show up on Netflix.  When this director’s first film, The Pact came out, even some of the harsher critics said it had its moments, and had at least one “I see dead people”-type scene that scared the shit out of us (don’t look up at the ceiling if something up there is really freaking out a psychic). However, we have heard At The Devil’s Door is a slow-burn but does have some genuine scares (though not as many as this critic at Variety.com would have liked); read on! (Click “View original” on the lower left to read the whole review by Dennis Harvey).