The Invitation (2022) – Review/ Summary (with Spoilers)

“The Invitation” is the type of film ruined by a trailer that gives everything away, and the film does not compensate for that.


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Title Card - The Invitation (2022)

“The Invitation” is the type of film ruined by a trailer that gives everything away, and the film does not compensate for that.

Director(s) Jessica M. Thompson
Screenplay By Jessica M. Thompson, Blair Butler
Date Released (In Theaters) 8/26/2022
Genre(s) Action, Drama, Fantasy, Horror, Romance, Young Adult
Duration 1 Hour 44 Minutes
Content Rating PG-13
Noted Cast
Evie Nathalie Emmanuel
Oliver Hugh Skinner
Grace                Courtney Taylor
Walter Thomas Doherty
Mr. Fields Sean Pertwee
Viktoria Stephanie Corneliussen
Mrs. Swift Carol Ann Crawford
Lucy Alana Boden

This content contains pertinent spoilers.

Film Summary

With the recent passing of her mother, and her father dead since she was a teenager, all Evie has now is her best friend Grace. This is why, after snagging a DNA Kit from a recent goodie bag at a catering event gig, Evie is surprised she has family in the UK. While Grace is a bit hesitant, Evie makes contact, and Oliver is charming and English, making Evie comfortable enough to accept his invitation to a family wedding. One in which the overwhelming Walter is the host of, and with his flirtation, Evie grows increasingly in love with what Oliver has introduced her to.

But then, between a series of micro-aggressions and rather curious moments during her less than three-night stay, red flags begin to pop up everywhere for Evie. For if it isn’t Mr. Fields being rude, it is a woman named Viktoria. And while Walter, Oliver, and Evie’s ladies maid Mrs. Swift, and a woman named Lucy are nice, something feels off, and boy, is Evie right about that.

Things To Note

  • Reason(s) for Film Rating: Cursing (Yes), Violence (Suicide, blood, dismemberment), Sexual Content (Mild sex scene, Viktoria’s backside exposed), Miscellaneous (Drinking and there might have been smoking)

Question(s) Left Unanswered

  1. Who created Walter?

Character Descriptions

Please Note: This character guide is not an exhaustive list of every cast member, and character descriptions may contain what can be considered spoilers.

Evie

Evie (Nathalie Emmanuel) wearing a dress Walter picked out for her
“Evie (Nathalie Emmanuel) wearing a dress Walter picked out for her,” The Invitation, directed by Jessica M. Thompson, 2022, (Sony Pictures Entertainment)

An orphaned New York-based MFA student, when Evie isn’t doing freelance work to pay the bills, she does ceramics. Which is an interest gifted to her by her mother.

Grace

Grace is Evie’s best friend who, like her, is still going to school and trying to make ends meet.

Oliver

Oliver (Hugh Skinner) trying to convince Evie to accept his wedding invitation
“Oliver (Hugh Skinner) trying to convince Evie to accept his wedding invitation,” The Invitation, directed by Jessica M. Thompson, 2022, (Sony Pictures Entertainment)

Oliver is Evie’s English cousin on her mother’s side, who works for Alexander Realty, and recruits her for a family wedding.

Walter

Walter (Thomas Doherty) at his wedding dinner
“Walter (Thomas Doherty) at his wedding dinner,” The Invitation, directed by Jessica M. Thompson, 2022, (Sony Pictures Entertainment)

Walter is the master of the Carfax Estate, who recently has become widowed, but with an eye on Evie, he may not be single for long.

Mr. Fields

Mr. Fields is the head butler at the Carfax Estate, who is no fan of Evie for varied reasons.

Viktoria

Viktoria (Stephanie Corneliussen) naked at a spa
“Viktoria (Stephanie Corneliussen) naked at a spa,” The Invitation, directed by Jessica M. Thompson, 2022, (Sony Pictures Entertainment)

From the way it appears, at first, Viktoria is a territorial woman, not fond of Walter’s interest in Evie, and because she can’t take that fully out on Evie or Walter, she belittles Lucy.

Mrs. Swift

Mrs. Swift (Carol Ann Crawford) saying Evie should go back to her room
“Mrs. Swift (Carol Ann Crawford) saying Evie should go back to her room,” The Invitation, directed by Jessica M. Thompson, 2022, (Sony Pictures Entertainment)

Mrs. Swift is Evie’s lady’s maid and someone who was relatively close with Walter’s wife.

Lucy

Lucy is a young girl needing a friend, especially since Viktoria treats her friendliness as a liability and an annoyance.

Review


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Our Rating: Mixed (Divisive)

Highlights

If The Trailer Didn’t Spoil The Twist, “The Invitation” Could Have Been Better

Walter and Mr. Fields (Sean Pertwee) talking to Evie after she accidentally breaks some dishes
“Walter and Mr. Fields (Sean Pertwee) talking to Evie after she accidentally breaks some dishes,” The Invitation, directed by Jessica M. Thompson, 2022, (Sony Pictures Entertainment)

“The Invitation” has a wonderful build-up in its first hour. Evie is a likable girl, orphaned, with just one friend, thrown into a world of excess, charming English men, and the occasional microaggression that many people of color in mainly White spaces know. But, with Walter being so charming, and a pique British dream boat, it is easy to fall in love with Evie’s crush on him.

This is why the twist of Walter being a vampire, as well as a few others, being spelled out in the trailer is unfortunate. Because of that, the reveal is meaningless, for you got it in the trailer. Thus making all the build-up practically for nothing since you’re waiting on Evie to learn she is amongst people who are evil and have ill intentions.

Low Points

The Ending

You and I both know Evie wasn’t going to die. Again, the trailer reveals that. However, where “The Invitation” especially goes wrong is that it doesn’t make up for all that is given away in the trailer. Rather, it gets worse from there. Despite all we hear about vampires and their strength, Evie gets to go, Rambo, further diluting any potential the film could have had. Add in “The Invitation” tries to set up a sequel that I can’t fathom anyone wanting? It’s hard to feel like someone grossly overestimated the interest this film could drum up.

On The Fence

Untapped Potential

You are given minimal details when it comes to Walter, vampires, and much of what goes on in the Carfax Estate. It is revealed to us that the vampires of “The Invitation” aren’t hurt by sunlight, one of the few rules which exist across most vampire stories, but it isn’t told to us what is true beyond how to kill a vampire. Because of that, there is minimal lore, even regarding Walter’s origins.

Alongside that, we’re told of Walter’s relationship with Evie’s family, among others, but in terms of why Walter chooses these specific families, again, it is a need-to-know basis thing. We’re told there is something special in their blood, but as for how did he find out about them? Never mind, how many wives has he lost in his unnoted centuries of living? That isn’t said.

Now, would “The Invitation” have been better if it answered all these questions? It’s hard to say. It may have made the film’s latter half easier to digest, but other pitfalls could have been added. Though through Lucy, you can see an alternative where Evie could have been given a reason to have less adverse feelings about vampires. But Lucy goes untapped in this way, thus leaving the film overwhelmingly simple and without any clear desire to be complicated.

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Title Card - The Invitation (2022)
The Invitation (2022) – Review/ Summary (with Spoilers)
Overall
“The Invitation” lacks any notable twists or spins to be more than a lazy vampire movie featuring abhorrent elitism.
Highlights
If The Trailer Didn’t Spoil The Twist, “The Invitation” Could Have Been Better
Disputable
The Ending
Untapped Potential
71

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