Invitation Only (Jue ming pai DUI)
(adult content) -
Year Released: 2009, Unearthed Films 2023
Runtime: 1h 35m
Director(s): Kevin Ko
Writer(s): Sung In, Carolyn Lin
Cast: Maria Ozawa, Ray Chang, Julianne Chu, Jerry Chih-Wei Huang
Language: Mandarin/Spanish w/English subtitles
Where To Watch: Blu-ray here www.unearthedfilms.com, Streaming here www.vimeo.com
RAVING REVIEW: Horror movie lovers, prepare to squirm in your seat with INVITATION ONLY. The film takes you on a wild ride with Wade, a junior executive at a large corporation, invited to a party exclusively for the wealthy and successful. But things quickly turn terrifying when he and four other guests are locked inside the building and hunted by sadistic stalkers who torture them in the most gruesome ways.
The film starts slowly, but once it picks up speed, it never lets up. It's like HOSTEL, but with more twists and turns than your average slasher/horror movie. The makeup is top-notch, and the death/torture scenes are so intense and gruesome that you'll squirm in your seat. I can handle pretty much anything, and there was a scene in this that left me feeling like someone was rubbing salt in an open wound.
One of the standout features of INVITATION ONLY is its critique of capitalism and the divide between the rich and poor. The portrayal of the two groups is exceptionally well-done, leaving a realistic and thought-provoking impression—more than you would assume from a traditional slasher. As the night progresses, the true motives behind the twisted game become apparent, and you'll be on the edge of your seat trying to piece together the clues.
My biggest issue with the film is that it felt like two different projects were put together. Someone had mentioned it felt like part was digital and shot on film. The editing is good, feeling almost like an underground “found footage” film at times, but it’s far from that. It really can take you out of the moment in some situations.
Director Kevin Ko's feature is a brutal genre contribution that will leave you with all types of uncomfortable feelings. The frightened victims initially don't realize what horror scenario they've gotten into, and you'll be right there with them as they try to make it through the night.
In conclusion, INVITATION ONLY is a horror film that delivers grotesque visual imagery and a strong message through its script. The death/torture scenes are intense and gruesome, and the film's portrayal of the divide between the rich and poor is thought-provoking. If you're looking for a fun and frightening night in, then INVITATION ONLY is a perfect choice.
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[photo courtesy of UNEARTHED FILMS]