OK, so this is about as derivative as it is possible to get - but you know what, I actually quite enjoyed it. It's a short and sweet tale of the young "Evie" (Nathalie Emmanuel). She does one of those online DNA tests and before she knows it, is having a posh lunch with "Oliver" (Hugh Skinner) - a posh British lad who claims that she is his long lost cousin. After about thirty seconds, she is invited to come to Yorkshire for a wedding and, as you would - readily accepts. Upon arrival, she encounters their irascible butler "Fields" (Sean Pertwee) and then the hunky lord of the manor "Walt" (Thomas Doherty). She is smitten, indeed they are at it within twenty four hours - but soon she starts to sense that things at the new "Carfax Manor" are not quite what they may seem - not least because there is a distinct lack of bride and groom; and the waitresses employed to cater for the occasion have a habit of disappearing. What could be going on...? Well, it's fairly clear to us from the start who the baddie is, and that "Viktoria" (a sort of Angelina Jolie-esque Stephanie Corneliussen) and her pal "Lucy" (Alana Boden) are in on the cunning scheme too. It has clearly been done on a limited budget, but the direction is still just about adequate. The story, though, is pretty thin and the acting is drama school stuff for the most part before an ending that really does let the whole thing down rather badly. Still, I watched it with considerable trepidation in a pretty empty cinema, and left thinking it passed 100-odd minutes amiably enough. Not great, no - but not rubbish either.
**The Invitation wastes great potential and ideas by trying too hard to be clever and failing.** Reviews for The Invitation are mediocre at best but as harsh as they seem, they aren't too far off. The Invitation takes the successes of Ready or Not and blends them with the Dracula story putting a fresh new take on a familiar story. The film benefits from this new approach and introduces new characters and ideas. But that is where the good runs out. The first hour of the runtime forces a romance between the heroine and a painfully suspicious and uncomfortable forward rich guy. Unfortunately, the story gets so caught up in trying to fool the audience into thinking it is a simple romance movie, so it could shock with the vampire twist that it didn't leave time to make the conclusion feel rewarding or earned. Once the monsters finally revealed themselves, The Invitation sprinted to the end, with the inexperienced heroine easily besting Dracula and his minions; corrupt families and monsters had survived and thrived for hundreds of years. The victory sadly does not convince or satisfy. If The Invitation had spent less time on the failed love story and more time developing the vampire story, this could have been a good movie.
_The Invitation_ started off so well, but eventually morphed into a generic film that I could have predicted from a mile away. The set up to the movie was decent, but the second act was when I really thought this movie nailed it. I really enjoyed the somewhat sadistic back and forth between the two leads. On one hand, you see a woman ready to give herself over to the thought of love for the first time. While on the other hand, the audience knows this chance at love is built on a lie. Despite this fact, I found the chemistry incredibly strong between the two leads. I was smiling as their love story progressed, even though I knew it was not going to end well. Nathalie Emmanuel and Thomas Doherty do such an excellent job in this film. I loved their chemistry and Dohery does such a great Jekyll and Hyde with the unearthly vampire masked by the charismatic lord. Super entertaining watching them do great work here. The creepy disturbing nature of the trailers was not overly present here, almost all of the unsettling imagery was used for the trailers and leaves the rest of the movie feeling pretty generic. This is even more evident when the movie turns into a vampire action flick reminiscent of the Twilight movies. At this moment, I was completely ripped out of the movie and was ready for it to end. This drastic change in tone really did not fit well here for me. Even though the last quarter was a disappointment, there is still good elements to the movie that is worth watching for those that were initially interested. **Score:** _55%_ | **Verdict:** _Average_
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