Parents' Guide to

The Invitation

By Jeffrey Anderson, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 17+

Smart, emotional thriller with violence and a creepy cult.

Movie NR 2016 100 minutes
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Is It Any Good?

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Kids say (12):

This shocker of a thriller is an intelligent, atmospheric slow burn that spends its early moments on interactions and emotions, avoiding obvious exposition or setups. Logically, anything can happen. Marshall-Green anchors the first part of the movie with his watchful, soft-spoken performance, dealing with pain and suspicion in equal measure. Will has re-entered his old house for the first time in two years, and flashbacks to time with his son are appropriately heart-rending, placing him perfectly off-balance from the rest of the characters.

Director Karyn Kusama (Girlfight, Aeon Flux, Jennifer's Body) uses the house as a vivid character, with muted lighting and clever staging to subtly highlight conflicts. Two outsiders (played by John Carroll Lynch and Lindsay Burdge) are also ingeniously placed to brilliantly tense effect. A brutal climax upsets the mood ever so slightly, bringing THE INVITATION closer to a standard horror pic, but an eerie coda more than makes up for it.

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