Much has been said about the American remakes of Asian horror films – typically, they’re not as good or people are just sick of seeing the same thing over again, and, of course, there’s the whole “there’s no more original ideas in Hollywood” argument. But little is said of the reverse – as much as Asian Horror inspires American horror, so does American horror inspire Asian Horror! In recent years, overseas (and not just in Asian countries), we’ve seen a plethora of American-style slasher films, including, most notably, films like Cold Prey 1 and 2 and Frontier(s).
Just as the “torture porn” style of American films is on its dying breath, it’s begun invading shores overseas. In France, we’ve seen films such as Inside and Martyrs (review), and in Asian countries, we’re now seeing films like the Japanese Grotesque and the Taiwanese Invitation Only. While Grotesque has disgusted people for it’s vile nature and emphasis on uncomfortable gore over story, Invitation Only takes another route – it almost literally is a Taiwan-based version of the movie Hostel, with similar humor, scenes, and a resolution.
More after the jump!
Ordinary young men and women often dream of the unreachable life of the world’s idle rich. Wade, Richard, Hitomi, Holly and Lin certainly do. They have all received an invitation to an exclusive party held by a group of rich & famous people,obviously addressed to them by mistake.But all the same, they attend.
It is the best party ever, a wishing game takes place where their deepest desires materialize. But when they find Richard’s body brutally killed, the wishing game turns into a killing game in which they are the tortured victims and a rich audience the sadistic spectators. To escape from the party and survive is now their only dream.
Despite an obvious lack of originality, Invitation Only is actually a pretty decent little film. It feels very American, and has the type of production values we’ve come to expect from Hollywood fare. The acting is pretty solid (even though one of the actresses, Maria Ozawa, actually comes from a porno background). The direction and cinematography are all very well done. And it’s actually a pretty intense little film for a while.
The main downfall of Invitation Only is that too many characters are killed too quickly. Ultimately, we’re left with the two actors we kind of expected to survive till the end of the film, and they’re the only ones left by the halfway point. It kills the suspense a bit when you know, if this person dies, the movie’s over, so they have to live at least 45 minutes longer. Plus, because of that, the film does drag a bit in the middle.
The gore is strong though – you have people having their balls electocuted, faces sliced up, and more. And unlike Hostel, where the majority of the violence was off screen (watch the original again), you see everything in gory detail. Not a film to watch if you wanna get lucky that night.
If you dug the original Hostel, give Invitation Only a shot. If you’re sick of the whole “torture porn” thing, it won’t change your mind, but it is a pretty decent flick overall.