Dir: Karyn Kusama(2015)

Karyn Kusama (director of Aeon Flux, Jennifer’s Body and Girlfight) gets back to basics with The Invitation and this intriguing script from Phil Hay and Matt Manfredi; A screenplay which looks back at some of the more infamous goings on in the hills of Hollywood when an ominous invitation to a dinner party from an ex-wife takes Will and his girlfriend, Kira to the rather weirdly vibed house of the old flame. As the wine flows and the guests loosen up so does the host’s motive for luring them to this rather dark little soiree.

This slow burner does remarkably well with its spare setting. John Carroll Lynch keeps most of the ham concealed as the guest no one knows but brilliantly ratchets up the tension as things start to get a little out of control. Kusama concerns herself with performance and gets some solid work out of our lost/found leads, Logan Marshall-Green, Tammy Blanchard and Treme‘s Michiel Huisman as Will’s ex-girlfriend’s slightly sinister new beau. Many may not drink down the cool-aid completely in the films final third but Kusama and her cast deliver a low-key social thriller which as a main may be over cooked but as a starter it’s more than satisfactory.