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”