The Invitation

  • 2003
  • Movie
  • R
  • Thriller

Writer/Director Pat Bermel's talky thriller a la Agatha Christie aims to be a thinking man’s suspense film, but the clever premise is badly developed. Author Roland Levy (Lance Henriksen) invites six friends to his private island. Following his wife's death, Levy embarked on a worldwide spiritual quest and confronted his demons in the Andes, under dramatic...read more

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Reviewed by Robert Pardi
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Writer/Director Pat Bermel's talky thriller a la Agatha Christie aims to be a thinking man’s suspense film, but the clever premise is badly developed. Author Roland Levy (Lance Henriksen) invites six friends to his private island. Following his wife's death, Levy embarked on a worldwide spiritual quest and confronted his demons in the Andes, under dramatic circumstances: Peruvian Indians poisoned him and refused to administer the antidote until Roland had come to terms with his inner torment. Over dinner, Roland suggests that his friends try the same drastic method. The first casualty is once-wealthy John Leveque (David Livingstone), who was ruined when the faulty surgical

implants in which he invested produced a slew of lawsuits. John apparently dies after admitting that one such product caused his sister’s death. Roland's publisher, Joel Gellman (Christopher Shyer), is haunted by visions of his dead father, who may not have been his biological parent. Joel's wife, lawyer Maria (Sarah Jane Redmond), refuses to admit that she defended her friend Anne's (Stefanie Von Pfetten) stepfather, who molested Anne's sister. Anne in turn can't forgive herself for abandoning her sister, who eventually committed suicide. Dr. Michael Harris (Douglas O'Keefe) eventually reveals that his recreational drug habit cost a patient her life, while his wife, Liza (Stellina Rusich), refuses to admit that she sexually serviced John in exchange for stock tips. When he threatened to blackmail the newly married Liza, she testified about John's insider trading. One by one, the drugged guests experience bouts of blindness, self-loathing and stomach cramps; would some of them rather die rather than confess their darkest secrets and make amends? Pitched between black comedy and outright horror, Bermel's slack chiller falls apart in a tangle of choppy flashbacks, flowery dialogue and unfocused direction.

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  • Released: 2003
  • Rating: R
  • Review: Writer/Director Pat Bermel's talky thriller a la Agatha Christie aims to be a thinking man’s suspense film, but the clever premise is badly developed. Author Roland Levy (Lance Henriksen) invites six friends to his private island. Following his wife's deat… (more)

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