When I first saw trailers for the new movie The Invitation, I had no real desire to see it. The trailers themselves made the film out to be a jumpscare-filled vampire horror movie. Heavy on the horror. And I just wasn’t in the mood. But then I saw this this TikTok, now with over 345k views as of this writing. Film and nerd reviewer @jstoobs talks about how the The Invitation was marketed all wrong. Now that I’ve seen it. I agree with her. First, check out the trailer below:
The Inaccuracy of The Invitation’s trailer.
I’d maybe stop watching this trailer halfway through if you don’t want spoilers, since it basically shows the whole movie (ugh), but here’s what the studio came up with:
What are you expecting with a trailer like that? For me, it felt heavy on the horror. As a horror fan, that’s fine. It’s not like I shy away from blood and gore. It mostly just felt like a Ready or Not ripoff, and few can beat the majesty of Samara Weaving. Was I in the mood for all this, though? No. That is, until I saw @jstoob’s TikTok.
The Invitation isn’t what you think.
“This film is basically Dracula fan fiction.” It’s true. As she says, this movie is “horror lite,” leaning heavily into the modern gothic romance with the horror elements taking a backseat to pretty much every other theme. She also brings up a good point about the audience and how that’s affected reviews. It has a review rating of 22% on Rotten Tomatoes with an audience score of 60%. That kind of disparity in reviewer to audience ratings should be a clue right there that something’s up.
Here’s what you should expect, from someone who’s seen it.
The horror genre is super male-dominated, not only in filmmaking but in the audience as well. Perhaps the horror-focused trailer was meant to appeal to a male audience, but the reality is that it’s a female-centered film. It’s written and directed by women, and pretty much all the focus is on the female characters and their social interactions with each other. The lead is likeable and a total badass.
And then there’s the romance. The chemistry between Evie (Nathalie Emmanuel) and Walter (Thomas Doherty) is insanely good.
So, what is The Invitation really? Rather than the bloody vampire-themed Ready or Not ripoff that the trailer makes it out to be, it’s much more of a gothic vampire romance that would appeal to fans of Bridgerton and True Blood, with a splash of Jordan Peele-style humor. If you liked Buffy the Vampire Slayer, you’ll probably like this.
Just like @jstoobs, I don’t think this movie is perfect. The ending feels rushed, like there were scenes missing. Still, I had a good time in this female-centered vampire romance that we don’t get very often in theaters anymore. I recommend it for all those who want some vampire romance with just a dash of spooky horror.