The Invitation will be released by Sony on Blu-ray + Digital on October 25, 2022, with both the theatrical PG-13 version and an unrated version. Meanwhile, the unrated version is available via Amazon Prime.
Special features preview:
Here’s the alternate ending:
And here’s our previous coverage of the film:
‘You are cordially invited to a nightmare generations in the making’
The Invitation is a 2022 horror film about a young American woman who is courted by an English aristocrat but realises a conspiracy is afoot.
Directed by Jessica M. Thompson (The Light of the Moon) from a screenplay co-written with Blair Butler (True Haunting; Polaroid; Hellfest), very loosely inspired by Bram Stoker‘s novel Dracula. Produced by Emile Gladstone. Executive produced by Michael P. Flannigan and Jessica M. Thompson.
The Mid Atlantic Films-Screen Gems production stars Nathalie Emmanuel (Fast & Furious 10; Army of Thieves; F9: The Fast Saga; Game of Thrones), Thomas Doherty (Dracula series 2013), Stephanie Corneliussen (Legion series), Alana Boden, Courtney Taylor, Hugh Skinner (Tell Tale Heart 2019; Day of the Dead 2008) and Sean Pertwee (The Reckoning; Howl; Wilderness; Dog Soldiers).
After the death of her mother and having no other known relatives, Evie (Nathalie Emmanuel) takes a DNA test… and discovers a long-lost cousin she never knew she had.
Invited by her newfound family to a lavish wedding in the English countryside, she’s at first seduced by the attractive aristocratic host but is soon thrust into a nightmare of survival as she uncovers twisted secrets in her family’s history and the unsettling intentions behind their sinful generosity…
“The big reveal is really great and it’s both obvious and a surprise. Sadly, afterwards, the film feels really dragged out and loses all the terror it was building. It’s not a scary film, beyond a couple of jump scares, but the atmosphere up until the ending is tense and haunting. Once it’s revealed that’s lost.” Ashley Manning
“Calling to mind those mid-range genre pieces that studio Screen Gems rode to financial fruition around the mid-to-late 2000s and 2010s, The Invitation is a cheap, though perfectly polished number that lets its aesthetically pleasing cast loose on average material, hoping the set-pieces are atmospheric enough to distract undemanding audiences from how safe the whole affair truly is.” 2.5 out of 5, The Au Review
“It’s a well-crafted gothic romance light on scares that could sufficiently introduce the genre to unfamiliar audiences. Emmanuel retains rooting interest despite a character unable to see the danger until the water reaches well past its boiling point; the foreshadowing and supernatural clues are so well telecast here that savvier audiences will know precisely where this is headed long before Evie does.” 2.5 out of 5, Bloody Disgusting
“Thompson creates some gothic flourishes for The Invitation, and she focuses on set and costume design more than performances, trying to generate a visual experience. The story isn’t as deeply considered, and when it all goes south for Evie, scares don’t follow, just some mediocre genre exploration with puzzling character choices, and some light martial arts are worked into the film (which closes with an obviously reshot ending).” 4 out of 10, Blu-ray.com
“The problem with The Invitation is that it could have been more intriguing, but everything in the movie is just shallow. “The Invitation” just goes through the motions of things that have already been done in many other horror flicks about ghosts, demons and vampires. The movie has issues about race and class that are dangled in front of viewers but never fully developed.” Culture Mix
“It’s not that The Invitation spends far too much time on this romantic angle that drains it of any life force, but rather how boring and suspense-free it’s executed. A twist on the horizon is all well and good, but if it’s going to be this obvious and come so late in the narrative, there needs to be some sharp social commentary alongside funhouse thrills.” 2 stars, Flickering Myth
” …all the character names taken from Stoker feel less like homages and more like desperation. This invite promises only bargain-priced goth, watered-down frights and surface-level commentary on classism and white privilege. The pivot from the Get Out setup to the Ready of Not revenge tour is much too long in coming, with a payoff that just isn’t worth the wait.” 2 out of 5, Maddwolf
“The Invitation is a horror thriller that jumps at the chance to use the gothic environment and atmosphere. The manor house used is beautiful and would have secrets within its history. When it comes to a sequence in the final act, we do get the biggest weakness, with the overuse of cutting for different angles, which is very jarring.” Four stars, Movie Reviews 101
“The Invitation struggles to ascertain what type of horror movie it wants to be. Turns out, it’s the kind with minimal gore (the amount that lets you skate by with a wimpy PG13 rating) and little seduction value. Still, there is some campy, vampire fun Thompson plays around with where, had it gone for the R-rating, might have gotten more bang for its bite.” B- The Only Critic
“Nathalie Emmanuel does well to try carry the film as a young woman looking for some connection. She can’t see the dangers until it’s too late and hams it up at the end when it becomes a True Blood clone. The Invitation is a very flawed tame gothic vampire tale that lays heavy on the romance and forgets it’s vital subject, it’s a horror.” 3/5, The People’s Movies
“Emmanuel is a talented, stunningly gorgeous actress who has shown she’s capable of more in films such as Army of Thieves and her quietly smoldering performances on Game of Thrones. But she’s not given much to work with in The Invitation, and her turn in the final act to fight back in Samara Weaving-esque fashion never reaches the over-the-top heights we want such payback to be.” 2.5/5, Punch Drunk Critics
“Director Jessica M. Thompson keeps the horror strictly for folks who thought Twilight was the best vampire movie ever. That’s not to say there isn’t a well-staged scene or two in The Invitation, but when the best scene in a vampire romance is a sequence where the lead gets a clumsy manicure, it suggests deficits in the horror department.” 2 stars, Richard Crouse
“Despite some ambitious efforts by director Jessica M. Thompson and screenwriter Blair Butler 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, and too often laugh-out-loud funny as its plot relies on the age-old convention of a smart yet naive heroine…” Variety
“Though The Invitation doesn’t land in the “worst of the year” territory given its lead performance and notable flares of style, it’s neither particularly scary, nor sexy enough or as intellectually progressive as it wants to be. But, conversely, it’s also insufficiently campy to awaken one’s interest for the truly bizarre, rendering itself an average genre ordeal.” The Wrap
In the US, The Invitation will be released theatrically by Screen Gems/Sony Pictures on August 26, 2022. The UK release by Sony Pictures Releasing is on the same day.
Director Jessica M. Thompson recently talked to Bloody Disgusting about her new modern interpretation of Dracula and its production: “It was to me, the Bride of Dracula origin story. That was what captivated me because we haven’t seen that. We’ve done Dracula so many times; let’s do the brides. There are new stories we want to see and want to know about, and we use that as a jumping-off point. It’s more of an inspiration point than trying to stay true to the book or retell it.
“We have some of the characters and some of the character names that come throughout, and I think those are nice little Easter eggs for true Dracula fans. But I hope people are open-minded when they come in because we’ve put a modern twist on those characters.”
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