Who’s RSVP-ing, Natahalie Emmanuel would like to know (CREDIT: Screen Gems)

Starring: Nathalie Emmanuel, Thomas Doherty, Hugh Skinner, Stephanie Corneliussen, Alana Boden, Courtney Taylor, Sean Pertwee

Director: Jessica M. Thompson

Running Time: 104 Minutes

Rating: PG-13 for A Few Pokes in the Chest and Neck and Some Tasteful Sexuality

Release Date: August 26, 2022 (Theaters)

What’s It About?: You know, a lot of people nowadays submit their DNA to various companies. The Invitation posits that that might not be the best idea, though. Do we really want distant family members we never knew we had to suddenly be able to contact us? Probably not. Although, maybe it might be nice if they’re fancy Brits who can whisk us away on an all-expense paid trip to a giant mansion in the English countryside. That’s what happens to adult orphan Evie (Nathalie Emmanuel) when her newly discovered cousin Oliver (Hugh Skinner) invites her to a wedding. That sounds a little fishy to me, and honestly, it sounds a little fishy to Evie as well, but girl, she could sure use a vacation. Anyway, after she arrives, she has a meet-cute with man of the house Walter (Thomas Doherty), but he’s just a little too suspiciously charming, isn’t he?

What Made an Impression?: The Invitation doesn’t fully reveal its hand until about three-quarters of the way through. But based on the trailer, it’s clear what’s going on, so this appears to be a case of the premise being treated like a twist. Put another way: this movie sure takes its dang time. The teases in the early going are also far and few between. One aggressive character sucks on Evie’s finger after it gets cut, and that’s about the only clue we get. It’s really all we need, though, because what else could that mean?! But this isn’t a mystery movie, it’s an escape-from-the-prison-of-your-toxic-secret-family movie. Unless I’ve completely misunderstood director Jessica M. Thompson and her co-screenwriter Blair Butler’s intentions. And in that case, I just wish they had made something more compelling.

The Invitation is Recommended If You Like: Ignoring obvious red flags

Grade: 2.5 out of 5 Cousins