August has the reputation of being a slow month for theatrical movies. Occasionally you’ll get a Guardians of the Galaxy or an awards player like The Help or Straight Outta Compton, but August usually acts as a cinematic transition month, where the summer movies begin to fade and the fall movies begin to ramp up for festivals and an awards push.
With August being a slower month, it is very easy to lose interest in some of the movies that are coming out. Whether they seem uninteresting or you’ve seen a lack of marketing for the film, a movie can fall through the cracks and not be seen. The Invitation is one of those movies that almost fell through the crack for me. I didn’t see any promotional emails, I didn’t receive any early screening invites, and I had not seen any marketing for the film up until a few weeks ago. And when I saw the trailer, I basically saw the entire movie.
Many have complained about how modern movie trailers give away too much about their respective film. They’ll show a surprise cameo or an important plot point or just show too much of something that, had we not seen it in the trailer, would have made the movie-going experience probably better and definitely more surprising. I do think this has become a problem and I wish that studios and their marketing teams would realize this and be more aware of what they are revealing before releasing their trailers and other marketing.
The Invitation is an example of the studio simply giving the entire plot of the movie away. I don’t think I am overreacting, because it is true. Watching the trailer gives you everything you need to know about the movie and summarizes its entire plot, including the twist and critical moments in the film’s climax. Watching the trailer for The Invitation essentially felt like the SparkNotes version of the film.
While movies have spoiled twists and major plot details in their trailers before, it sometimes doesn’t ruin the entire movie-going experience and despite the trailer for The Invitation giving away everything in the movie, I was surprised by how much fun I had watching The Invitation. The plot and the twists, while knowing what was going to happen basically when it was going to happen, were interesting and well-thought-out with socially relevant themes about being a Black woman in a white man’s world and classism. The performances were a nice mix of good and campy fun. I particularly enjoyed the performances from Nathalie Emmanuel as our lead, Evie, who takes an unexpected trip to a wedding of a long-lost relative in England, and Thomas Doherty as Walter, the handsome, suave owner of the mansion who takes a liking to Evie. They have smoldering chemistry together. There were enough creepy elements that kept me intrigued and the film ended up with plenty of blood and violence to make it entertaining.
I think about all the things I like about The Invitation and think about how much more I would have liked the film had the trailer not given away the entire movie. I’m not going to waste your time telling you the plot or what happens because you can just watch the trailer and see it for yourself. But just know that The Invitation, despite giving away the surprise, is one of the better horror movies I have seen in 2022 and a really fun ride.
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