Is 'The Invitation' A True Story? Dinner Parties Have Never Been So Frightening
Awkward dinner parties — we've all been to one, right? But how many of us can say we've been to a dinner party that could be the subject of a scary movie? Hopefully, not that many. And yet, in Karyn Kusama's new movie, The Invitation , a dinner party between exes turns out to be just that. The Invitation is a psychological thriller about a man, Will, who attends a dinner party hosted by his ex with his new lady love. Will and his ex, Eden, broke up after a tragedy pulled them apart, and he is thoroughly baffled by her happy attitude at the party, so much so that he starts to become suspicious of her intentions, and those of everyone around him. The suspenseful film is based in such a mundane experience — a dinner party with old friends — that asking if The Invitation is based on a true story isn't completely out of the question.
Luckily, The Invitation is a complete work of fiction. Though, I think it's safe to say that awkward dinner party experiences probably helped the filmmakers get inspired. In an interview with Cut Print Film, Kusama admitted to being a frequent dinner party host, saying that she was attracted to a story about a dinner party gone so horribly wrong. "I'm very attuned to the dynamics that happen at a table and all of the efforts a good host or hostess needs to make to keep a night feeling comfortable. So the idea of the dinner party just going batsh*t wrong is devilishly entertaining to me," she said.
Written by Phil Hay and Matt Manfredi, the screenwriting team behind Ride Along and Clash of the Titans, the movie was brought to Kusama, who is married to Hay, early in the writing process. But the movie is in no way based on real experiences. It is a psychological thriller, after all. Still, despite it's genre tone, star Logan Marshall-Green sees the movie as grounded in the very real experience of grief, telling Collider , "[Kusama] set out to make a conversation piece... about grief." For Kusama, she saw the movie as a kind of manifestation of her fears. "I identify a lot with the nightmare of the movie, which to me is the nightmare of denying pain and struggle," she said in an interview with The Verge .
In the end, it's probably best that The Invitation isn't based on a true story. That would have been one hell of a dinner party.
Images: Drafthouse Films