The Invitation Preview

Jamie and Patrick wander the streets of New York. “Is that good?” asks Jamie, pointing to a crosswalk signal. They watch it for a while and indeed it does seem like it’s a good thing. It tells people when to safely walk across the road. “And that’s… good, right?” Patrick says, brow furrowed. Jamie agrees. It’s a good thing. He resists talking about how lame it is, despite its goodness, because they’ve turned over a new leaf. As they continue on their walk they are approached by a man. “Wait, aren’t you two the Bad Movie Twins?” Patrick begins to respond in the negative. They are just plain ol’ twins now. But before he can explain the man double punches them in the stomach. “That’s for making fun of Paul Blart,” he says and leaves them groaning on the ground. “Maybe we just aren’t meant to be good,” Jamie says, on the verge of tears, “even when we’re just following traffic laws someone wants to punch you in the stomach because of all the bad things you said about Paul Blart. Maybe Paul Blart is good and we are bad.” He’s full on weeping on the sidewalk at this point and Patrick is embarrassed. None of this is good. What is good anyway? Just before he turns into the Joker, a glint of shiny paper catches his eye. He crawls across the sidewalk and grabs the piece of paper. “Jamie!” he yells in excitement. Jamie crawls over to join him and gasps when he reads the paper. “This is good,” he whispers. The paper isn’t just any piece of paper. It’s an invitation to appear on a talent show entitled America is Very Good. “It’s not just good, it’s our destiny,” Patrick says resolutely. That’s right! We are watching The Invitation, which apparently is based on Dracula, a property we’ve returned to a number of times on BMT. Keep ‘em coming. Let’s go!

The Invitation (2022) – BMeTric: 48.3; Notability: 13 – BMeTric: top 5.2%; Notability: top 12.0%; Rotten Tomatoes: top 9.8%; Higher BMeT: Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Brazen, The Bubble, Jeepers Creepers: Reborn, They/Them, Moonfall, Firestarter, Morbius, Blacklight, Me Time, Pinocchio, Spiderhead, Deep Water; Higher Notability: Jurassic World: Dominion, Black Adam, Pinocchio, Amsterdam, Morbius, Disenchanted, The School for Good and Evil, The Bubble, Moonfall, Deep Water, The Man from Toronto, The King’s Daughter, Spiderhead, Don’t Worry Darling, The 355, Where the Crawdads Sing, Blacklight, Samaritan, Slumberland, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and 10 more; Lower RT: Jeepers Creepers: Reborn, After Ever Happy, Me Time, Blacklight, Firestarter, On the Line, Brazen, The Last Manhunt, Morbius, Prey for the Devil, Hot Seat, Home Team, The King’s Daughter, The Bubble, The Man from Toronto, Senior Year, The 355; Notes: Decent BMeTric. For year-of films it often feels like we are hitting up all ‘dem 50+ BMeTrics, or we are watching a kind of entertaining film with a BMeTric of 10. – 1.5 stars – During these last, lazy days of summer, there isn’t a whole lot to do. Still, you’re probably going to want to RSVP “no” to “The Invitation.”

(What a pun. It is nice to know there is still a place in the theatrical schedule for a solid August dump, you know? I fear it is an endangered species.)

Trailer –

(Kind of looks like a standard glossy modern vampire film. The only exception is that the beginning looks more inspired by Get Out … I’m going to assume that inspiration didn’t go anywhere since I haven’t seen it mentioned anywhere as particularly notable in that regard.)

DirectorsJessica M. Thompson – ( Known For: The Light of the Moon; BMT: The Invitation; Notes: Directed the limited series The End for Showtime. This seems to be have been poised to be her breakout feature.)

WritersBlair Butler – ( Known For: Polaroid; Future BMT: Hell Fest; BMT: The Invitation; Notes: Seems to be a pretty consistent horror writer at the moment. Also wrote an episode of Helstrom.)

ActorsNathalie Emmanuel – ( Known For: F9: The Fast Saga; Army of Thieves; Furious 7; The Fate of the Furious; Maze Runner: The Death Cure; Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials; The Titan; Last Train to Christmas; Holly Slept Over; Twenty8k; BMT: The Invitation; Notes: Probably most famous as Missandei on Game of Thrones. She’s British and her first role, naturally, was on the soap opera Hollyoaks.)

Thomas Doherty – ( BMT: The Invitation; Notes: He’s been in a bunch of television including (and completely unsurprisingly) the Gossip Girl reboot. He looks like Gossip Girl incarnate.)

Sean Pertwee – ( Known For: Equilibrium; Doomsday; Dog Soldiers; The Reckoning; Goal! The Dream Begins; Swing Kids; Howl; I.D.; Alan Partridge; The Seasoning House; Mutant Chronicles; Goal II: Living the Dream; Love, Honor and Obey; Wild Bill;; Prick Up Your Ears; Ultramarines: A Warhammer 40,000 Movie; Shopping; Blue Juice; Wilderness; Future BMT: Formula 51; BMT: The Invitation; Event Horizon; Soldier; Notes: He’s the son of the Third Doctor, Jon Partwee. He’s probably most notable now as playing Alfred in the show Gotham.)

Budget/Gross – $10 million / Domestic: $25,100,080 (Worldwide: $33,700,080)

(I mean … that ain’t bad. No one is getting fired over some quick horror cash during a terrible box office year, I’m telling you that much.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 26% (16/62): Despite a very likable lead and a refreshingly light touch, The Invitation is ultimately too predictable to thrill as either a romance or a horror story.

(Yeah, I think that sounds about right. It seems like they leaned too heavily into the vampire and missed the opportunity to do something a bit more interesting. Maybe for the sequel.)

Reviewer Highlight: Despite some ambitious efforts to revitalize hoary horror movie tropes with allegorical commentary on race, class and male privilege, “The Invitation” is too wearyingly hackneyed for too much of its running time. – Joe Leydon, Variety

Poster – DJ Spinvitation

(Looks like the front of a video game or something. It’s actually hard to connect this to a film, it’s gone so far from a typical movie poster. It’s actually almost meta. Like the poster is extending an invitation to watch the film… which just so happens to also be named The Invitation. Wish the font was better… and kinda everything else. Some OK artistic flourishes. C-.)

Tagline(s) – You are cordially invited to a nightmare generations in the making. (C+)

(This is actually OK if you ignore how long it is. It’s kinda clever with the “cordially” in there juxtaposed with “nightmare”… or am I being too kind. I’m probably being too kind.)

Keyword(s) – year 2022

Top 10: The Batman (2022), The Kashmir Files (2022), Top Gun: Maverick (2022), Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (2022), Thor: Love and Thunder (2022), Everything Everywhere All at Once (2022), Uncharted (2022), The Adam Project (2022), The Northman (2022), The Gray Man (2022)

Future BMT: 63.5 Jeepers Creepers: Reborn (2022), 63.4 Firestarter (2022), 52.1 Radhe Shyam (2022), 50.0 Umma (2022), 45.8 The 355 (2022), 44.3 Jurassic World: Dominion (2022), 37.8 Memory (2022), 26.2 Amsterdam (2022), 10.7 Black Adam (2022), 7.4 Where the Crawdads Sing (2022)

BMT: Moonfall (2022), Morbius (2022), Blacklight (2022), The Invitation (2022), After Ever Happy (2022), The King’s Daughter (2022), Prey for the Devil (2022), Don’t Worry Darling (2022)

Best Options (Horror): 63.5 Jeepers Creepers: Reborn (2022), 63.4 Firestarter (2022), 50.0 Umma (2022), 48.0 The Invitation (2022)

(Many good choices here, but The Invitation worked the best because Firestarter is going to be pushed to a different category and Umma is just a little too weird.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 26) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Sean Pertwee is No. 9 billed in The Invitation and No. 5 billed in Soldier, which also stars Kurt Russell (No. 1 billed) who is in Tango & Cash (No. 2 billed) which also stars Sylvester Stallone (No. 1 billed) who is in The Expendables 3 (No. 1 billed) which also stars Jason Statham (No. 2 billed) who is in In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale (No. 1 billed) which also stars Leelee Sobieski (No. 3 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 1 billed) => (9 + 5) + (1 + 2) + (1 + 1) + (2 + 1) + (3 + 1) = 26. If we were to watch The Glass House we can get the HoE Number down to 25.

Notes – In an interview with Bloody Disgusting, director Jessica M. Thompson revealed that an alternate “R-rated” cut of the film will be released in VOD and streaming following the theatrical run. In the other version, more gore, violence and nudity are added which were removed from the theatrical version for a PG-13 rating.

As Evie exits the airport, the last picture shown on the wall is of Whitby, the supposed location of the film, and the place that Dracula was said to have landed in England.

Originally titled “The Bride”.

The statue of a dragon on top of an armored knight, is a reverse of the traditional imagery of Saint George slaying a dragon.

Goof: The Rolls-Royce Evie exits is left hand drive but should be right hand drive since they are in the United Kingdom.

Carfax Abbey is the name of the estate purchased by Dracula in the original Bram Stoker book, so the name New Carfax Abbey hints at the owner’s identity.

The old couple that recapture Evie after her escape are named Jonathan and Mina Harker, which are the names of two very prominent characters in the book Dracula.

Lucy, one of the brides of Walter (The Vampire), is also the name of the victim of Dracula in the 1992 Film and original book.

Walter’s surname, “De Ville”, is a play on “devil.” In modern Romanian, the English translation of “Dracul” is “devil,” further hinting at his true identity as Dracula.

According to director Jessica M. Thompson, there were two alternate endings for the film, one that was filmed and one that wasn’t. The unfilmed ending would have had Evie keep her vampiric powers, despite killing Walter/Dracula, and going out into the world to hunt other vampires while the filmed ending would have had Dracula survive the fire at New Carfax and return by ship to Romania, killing the crew and passengers on the way to survive. Thompson was not a fan of that ending as she felt it took away from Evie’s triumph to have the vampire live to see another day and also because she felt it would suggest there would be sequels, sentiments shared by the test audiences as they also hated that ending. Thompson’s original idea for the ending, which is what the final film ends on, was shot several weeks before the film’s release and required the use of a double for Hugh Skinner as he was unable to film the scene. It also allowed there to be one more scene for Courtney Taylor, who was an audience favorite during the screenings.


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