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2019 Netflix Halloween Countdown: "The Invitation"

There are many movies that are worth seeing, but there are a lot of stinkers as well. My goal here is to weed out the good from the bad.

2019 Netflix Halloween Countdown

For my third annual Netflix Halloween Countdown, I will once again be watching and reviewing some of the spooky, scary, gory, chilling, and horror-themed movies on Netflix. With each review, I will be including an up-to-date table that ranks these movies from best to worst. If you are looking to get in the Halloween spirit, by watching some Halloween-style movies, then these articles are for you!

The Invitation

Theatrical Release: 4/8/2016

Theatrical Release: 4/8/2016

Synopsis

It has been a very long time since they have seen each other, but when Will (Logan Marshall-Green) receives an invitation to a dinner party from his ex-wife, he reluctantly accepts and brings his current girlfriend (Emayatzy Corinealdi) along. All of Will’s old friends will be there, mutual friends that he shared with his ex-wife, Eden (Tammy Blanchard). As awkward as it may be to see his ex-wife after what happened between them, it will at least be good to see all of his old friends under one roof. However, the dinner party is at the house that he once shared with his ex-wife, where she currently lives with her new husband (Michiel Huisman).

Will did not anticipate the rush of emotions that he would experience by stepping foot in this house once again. Will also starts to notice suspicious behavior from Eden and her new husband, David. He cannot quite put a finger on what is going on, but he is the only one who seems to be picking up on the suspicious behavior. Perhaps he is just emotional and seeing signs that are not there, but if Eden and David are up to something, then Will and his friends may have walked right into a trap.

Official Trailer

The Pros & Cons

The ProsThe Cons

The Climax (+5pts)

The Main Character (-5pts)

Michiel Huisman (+4pts)

Boring & Weird Characters (-10pts)

John Carroll Lynch (+2pts)

The Ending (-3pts)

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Pro: The Climax (+5pts)

I will be honest, it was a long, boring road to the climax of this movie. However, once things finally started to happen, I was definitely into it. I do not want to give away anything, but if you have not seen this movie, the climax was going to be one of two things. Either Will’s suspicions would be correct, or they would be incorrect.

Either way, it was always clear that a big confrontation was coming. When it finally came, it was exciting. There were a number of stressed out characters involved, which made for an unpredictable ending. I thought the filmmakers did a poor job with this movie, for reasons that I will get into throughout this review. Fortunately, they delivered a strong climax that felt both intense and chaotic.

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Con: The Main Character (-5pts)

Will was, unfortunately, an annoying main character to follow. He spent most of the movie alone, in random rooms, staring off into space. Of the time he spent with other characters, a portion of that time is spent having him zone out, so the other characters are muffled or are out of focus. The guy is very much in his head, psyching himself out, and it made him a boring main character to follow.

I understand the desire to make the viewer uncertain of whether or not Will is crazy. The filmmakers clearly wanted to make the viewer wonder whether or not Will's suspicions were correct. In that respect, the filmmakers succeeded. Unfortunately, their means of doing that made the main character closed off and isolated from the other characters. The result is a lot of screen-time that is spent showing Will staring off into space, and zoning the other characters out. This makes the movie feel slow, which I will get into later, but it also makes the main character uninteresting.

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Pro: Michiel Huisman (+4pts)

When I say that I bought into what this character was saying, I do not mean that I was getting sucked into his cult. Rather, because of the actor in the role, I believed that the character had honest and innocent intentions, to an extent. I was always suspicious of the character, but the convincing performance by Michiel Huisman made me doubt my suspicions. Those suspicions were always there, but the actor made me wonder.

Michiel Huisman delivered his character's lines with a conviction and innocence that made him trustworthy. My mind was telling me to be suspicious of the character because of what kind of movie I was watching, but the performance made me want to trust him. Given the fact that this was a thriller, and that David was clearly the antagonist, what Michiel Huisman was able to do is no small thing. He made me doubt my gut, which is exactly what this movie needed him to do.

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Con: Boring & Weird Characters (-10pts)

The main character was definitely a contributing factor to this issue, but the movie's plot was a big factor as well. By having a non-social main character that liked to stand by himself, staring and thinking, the movie felt pretty slow and uneventful. This is not helped by the fact that the characters had really nothing to do inside the house. They were just chit-chatting, and hanging out, and nothing noteworthy seemed to happen. This could have even been interesting if a lot of these characters were not so weird, with Eden being the best example. The way she talked, the things she said, and the things she did were just really weird, to an almost laughable extent. There were other weird characters as well, and these characters made the slow scenes feel even slower, because they were just so awkward.

Right when you thought the movie was about to start picking up, as Will called out a character for acting suspiciously, the other characters would just jump on Will (figuratively) and accuse him of being paranoid. The story would then slow way back down, so that we could watch these weird characters socialize some more. I am all for a good slow-burn, but this movie was something else entirely. It just felt like the movie dragged on, and it felt like nothing ever happened until the climax of the movie. The filmmakers clearly had an idea, but did not have an interesting story to go with that idea. Instead, they just dragged the movie out, and used a non-social main character to hide the fact that they did not have a full story to tell.

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Con: John Carroll Lynch (+2pts)

I did not like this character, but I liked the actor in the role. After having seen the movie, it is hard to talk about this character without getting into spoiler territory. To vaguely setup this character, he is one of David and Eden's new friends, so has no connection to Will or Will's old friends. The character was pretty generic, but John Carroll Lynch made him compelling. This guy's story was captivating, and John Carroll Lynch's delivery was the primary reason why. I do not want to say much more about him, because I do not want to give anything away. Just know that John Carroll Lynch was captivating in the role.

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Con: The Ending (-3pts)

The ending of this movie frustrated me quite a bit. The filmmakers dragged this movie out, and gave me the impression that they did not have a full story to tell. Then the climax hit, and the movie ended in a way that setup a whole other potential story. This was the story that the filmmakers should have told in this movie!

The events that occurred during the climax of this story should have occurred around the half-way point of the movie. Then the filmmakers could have explored what came after. There was a whole other story here, a story that the filmmakers just lobbed up into the air, only to never tell it. What happened to the characters after the events of this movie could have made for a interesting, and entertaining second half of the movie. Unfortunately, the filmmakers went in another, far more boring, direction.

Grading Scale

GradeCategoryPoints

A+

Amazing

95-100

A-

Great

90-94

B+

Good

85-89

B-

Decent

80-84

C+

Average

75-79

C-

Watchable

70-74

D+

Bad

65-69

D-

Terrible

60-64

F

Garbage

45-59

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Grade: D+ (68pts)

There was a story here, but the filmmakers did a poor job of telling it. The main character was closed off and non-social, which made him unlikable and made it so that we never learn much about the other characters. It also made it so that a large portion of this movie was spent watching the main character standing by himself in a room and staring off into space. The filmmakers wanted to present the idea that the main character might be crazy. By doing so, they ended up delivering a slow, uneventful movie. Michiel Huisman did a pretty good job in his role, as his delivery felt both convincing and trustworthy. The filmmakers want you to doubt Will's suspicions, and Michiel Huisman's performance made me do just that.

The climax of the movie was intense, but the ending of the movie made it obvious that the filmmakers missed a huge opportunity here, as there was a lot of potential story to tell after this movie ended. Had they just shifted the events of the climax so that they occurred at the halfway point of the movie, the filmmakers could have had a much more interesting film. Unfortunately, the filmmakers did not see that opportunity, and made a slow, boring movie that pretty much goes in exactly the direction you would expect it to. Some people like this movie, and I do not know why. I found it to be a boring, predictable movie that seemed to drag on forever, and had an annoyingly non-social and uninteresting main character. It had a decent climax, and a couple decent performances, but everything leading up to the climax was as boring as it was slow.

Ranking

RankMoviePoints

1

Tucker & Dale vs. Evil

87pts

2

Insidious

86pts

2

Train to Busan

86pts

3

Horns

85pts

4

The Conjuring

84pts

5

Velvet Buzzsaw

83pts

6

Bird Box

82pts

6

In the Tall Grass

82pts

6

The Ritual

82pts

7

The Babysitter

80pts

7

Cargo

80pts

7

Gerald's Game

80pts

8

Hush

79pts

9

Little Evil

78pts

9

Stitches

78pts

10

14 Cameras

77pts

10

1922

77pts

10

Hold the Dark

77pts

11

The Perfection

76pts

11

Would You Rather

76pts

12

The Eyes of My Mother

75pts

13

Demonic

74pts

14

Green Room

73pts

14

Meet the Blacks

73pts

15

The Bar

72pts

16

Death Note

71pts

17

Yoga Hosers

69pts

18

The Invitation

68pts

19

13 Cameras

66pts

19

The Open House

66pts

20

I Am the Pretty Thing That Lives in the House

65pts