Directed by Jessica Thompson and written by Blair Butler, “The Invitation” stars Nathalie Emmanuel and Thomas Doherty in the roles of Evie and Walter De Ville, respectively. The narrative is set in a familiar landscape of blood-sucking vampires and doesn’t add anything new to the array of forgettable films that fail to bring anything substantial to the plate.
‘The Invitation’ Plot Summary: What Is The Film About?
The opening sequence of “The Invitation” takes us inside a huge mansion. In the darkness of the night, we saw eerie sculptures and an archaic staircase that led to a room on the first floor. An unknown man walks towards the room and asks the woman inside to have some food, as we presume that she probably hasn’t had anything for the past few days. The woman said that she couldn’t do it anymore and that she was extremely tired. At this moment, we are unaware about the context, and we do not know what led her to say those words. Suddenly, she pushed the man aside and tried to make an escape. She seemed like she had lost all hope and therefore, made a decision to end her life. She believed that with her death, the horrors would end once and for all. She tied a wire around her neck and hung herself from the mansion.
“The Invitation” then shifts to a much brighter setting, and we are introduced to Evie, who is working as a waitress in a conclave where the 10th anniversary of a business initiative named “Unlock Your Past” was being celebrated. It was basically an online portal named “Find Yourself” that analyzed the DNA samples of an individual and then found their family members. Evie’s friend, Grace, had secretly grabbed one of the hampers that were being given to the guests. It had a bottle of wine and a DNA testing tool kit too. Later, just for the sake of it, Evie went to the website and uploaded her DNA samples. The test results came in, and surprisingly, there was a match. She found out that a guy named Oliver L. Alexander III was her second cousin. Oliver had sent her a message and it seemed like he was quite eager to know more about her. He hailed from England, and he told Evie that he was going to be in New York later that week. He wanted to catch up with his long-lost American cousin. Evie, though, was not prepared to meet a long-lost family member, as it was a little awkward for her. After her mother had passed, Evie always craved a sense of belonging. She had nobody whom she could call her family, and so, she decided to meet her English cousin. Her friend, though, was skeptical about it. Grace told her that meeting a stranger off the internet is not something she would advise her to do. But Evie wanted to take the chance as she knew that if everything went right, then she would have somebody whom she could call her family.
Oliver was extremely polite, hospitable, and, by the looks of it, belonged to a well-to-do family. He told Evie that she was an integral part of the great family scandal, and that the whole family was quite eager to meet her. Emmaline Alexander, the great-grandmother of Evie, had an illicit relationship with a footman. This secret was revealed just before Emmaline’s wedding, in the year 1925, when she was pregnant. The footman left the village and raised the baby on his own. In his excitement, Oliver had told his entire joint family about Evie. He invited her to a family wedding that was supposed to happen in a few days. Evie was skeptical about it as things were progressing very quickly and she was feeling quite overwhelmed. She didn’t know anything about Olivar or his family, but he urged her to come. After a point, Evie gave in and decided to attend the wedding and see for herself how these people were in reality. She harbored a hope that she would find somebody whom she could call her own. Oliver took her to the mansion of the De Ville family, situated on the outskirts of the city. Evie couldn’t believe her eyes when she saw the huge mansion. She accidentally bumped into two maids, Diya and Imogen, who were carrying a box filled with glasses. The glasses fell on the floor, and the head butler, Mr. Fields, arrived at the scene. He spoke to the maids and even to Evie very rudely. Evie had worked as a waitress, and she knew that the girls had not done anything wrong to be treated in this manner. Walter De Ville, Lord of the Manor, arrived at the scene and resolved the matter. He told Mr. Fields to calm down and revealed to him the real identity of the guest. Though Mr. Fields apologized, it didn’t feel like he meant it. Evie was somewhat smitten by the charming Lord. We realize that it was the same mansion that we saw in the first scene of “The Invitation,” where the unknown woman had hanged herself. Evie was taken inside her room, and she was mesmerized by the opulent and extravagant lifestyle that these people had.
A maid named Mrs. Smith was appointed for Evie, and she couldn’t help but laugh at the turn of events. A couple of days back, she was working as a waitress, and now she had a maid to herself. Evie’s attention was drawn towards a portrait, which Mrs. Smith tells her was the former lady of the house. There was sadness on the face of the lady in the portrait, making it seem like she didn’t want to be there. Evie got an eerie feeling, and she realized that something was not right in the house. In the night, Evie saw that Mr. Fields had lined up all the maids and was allocating them work. Just then, Mrs. Smith came and told Evie to go back to her room, as it was not safe to roam around in the mansion at night. Martin, too, came to check on Evie and he not only apologized for the behavior of his butler but also showed a lot of interest in her. She couldn’t absorb the fact that she could be related to such a royal family. She felt overwhelmed, but then, she reassured herself that she always had the option of leaving, if things didn’t go her way or if she didn’t enjoy her stay.
‘The Invitation’ Ending Explained: What Was The Real Motive Of Oliver? Was Evie Able To Escape?
Evie finally met the whole family. Great Grand Uncle Alfred got way too emotional after meeting her. Evie felt nice to be welcomed in such a warm manner, though she still didn’t feel like she belonged there. Mr. Fields asked the maids, who had met Evie earlier, to go to the wine cellar and take out a bottle of the precious 1897 Vino Cruor. Diya, the one who had a brief conversation with Evie, was attacked by an unknown supernatural creature. It felt as if Mr. Fields had served the maids, on purpose, to a beast that existed in the cellar. Evie, too, felt an eerie presence but ignored it time and again. Walter made it quite obvious that he was interested in Evie through his actions. Staying at the New Carfax Abbey (an indication that makes the identity of the hosts pretty clear) meant constantly attending parties, dinners, and social gatherings. At one such dinner, Evie is made to feel quite special when the Butler, Mr. Fields, announces her name when she is making an entry. Evie met Viktoria Klopstock and Lucy Billington, the maids of honor. Viktoria was cold towards Evie, and it felt like she was trying to demean her.
Lucy, on the other hand, was warm and welcoming and made sure that Evie knew that she liked her. Later that night, she felt the presence of something supernatural in her room. Walter came as soon as he heard her screaming. He calmed her down and told her that it was probably the big mansion and the change of space that was causing the hallucinations. That night, Mrs. Smith was about to disclose something to Evie, but Walter came and interrupted her. Evie later found a hard copy of her Facebook profile page and her test results from the “Find Yourself” website lying on the desk of Walter. She felt deceived and she couldn’t understand why Walter had pretended that he didn’t know anything about her, all this while, when in reality he had done a thorough background search on her. Walter assured her that he never intended to vet her, and he said that he was just a bit curious and wanted to know more about this unknown American cousin who had emerged out of nowhere. Evie and Walter reconciled and shared an intimate moment and it felt like everything would be alright.
Evie attended the rehearsal dinner and hoped that she would get to meet the couple that was going to get married. At the dinner table, Walter welcomed the three great families, i.e., the Billingtons from Whiteby, the Klopstocks from Budapest, and the Alexanders of London. To Evie’s horror, Walter announced that he was going to marry Evie and talked about re-forming the bonds that had been broken. Moreover, a maid was slaughtered in front of her own eyes, and her blood was consumed by Walter, Viktoria, and Lucy as if it was a delicacy. Walter’s real identity and his intentions are finally revealed. Walter was a vampire, and for ages, the mortals of the three families had aided him in his ghastly endeavors. Viktoria and Lucy were his two wives, and he wanted to take Evie as the third one. Emmaline, Evie’s great-grandmother, was Walter’s wife, but she refused to drink the blood of a human being. She was the same woman who committed suicide at the beginning of the film, “The Invitation.” The bloodlines of the Billingtons, the Klopstocks, and the Alexanders were rare, and Viktoria said that if combined together, it would make the three wives and their master, Walter, extremely strong and powerful. Viktoria had been with Walter for the past 500 years, and that is why she felt that she had a superior position as compared to any new wife. Lucy’s association was still new, as she had been with the family for only about a hundred years.
In the wedding ceremony, the wife and the master had to drink each other’s blood. Lucy told Evie that once she drank the blood of Walter, she would have power equivalent to 100 men, but only when the master drank the blood of his wife would they be granted eternal life. Evie was put in a coffin and was told that she could come out during the daytime. Mrs. Smith, the maid who was assigned to Evie, came to her rescue. She had been a friend of her great-grandmother’s and she wanted to warn Evie about the upcoming doom, though she couldn’t find an opportunity to do so. Evie escaped the Carfax Abbey estate and started knocking on every door for help. She met an elderly couple named Mr. and Mrs. Harker, who gave her shelter. Evie saw a picture of the old couple and realized that they had sworn their allegiance to the Lord of the New Carfax Abbey. Evie tried to run from there, but she couldn’t, and she was once again sent back to the mansion. Walter told her that it was a rather profitable proposition for her i.e., she would be free from the fragility of human life and could enjoy immortality. Evie agreed to marry Walter, as she didn’t have much of a choice.
In the ceremony, Walter cut his wrist, and Evie sucked blood from it. Her body transformed and Evie could feel the adrenaline rush and the blood pumping in her veins. She said that she wanted to drink the blood of the maid, Diya, but instead went and put the table on fire. She stabbed Walter and chased Oliver, who was responsible for fraudulently bringing her into the mansion. Evie was attacked by Viktoria, but Lucy intervened and asked her to stop the facade once and for all. Lucy pushed Viktoria against a spear, and it pierced through both their bodies, thereby killing them. Mr. Fields attacked Evie and didn’t leave the opportunity to degrade her once again, though she got the better of him and killed him. Evie attacked Walter and she severed his wrists and pushed him into the fire. The nightmare ended, and Evie went back to New York. At the end of “The Invitation,” we see that Oliver is trying to escape the country and hide the evidence from the authorities, but Evie and her friend Grace have not forgiven the shrewd conspirator. They track him down and follow him into his office, probably killing him for his ungrateful behavior and sinful deeds.
There is nothing authentic about the film “The Invitation.” The story has been done and redone so many times that unless and until there is some unique and fresh plot point, there is no point in making a film of this particular subject matter. The film feels like a half-hearted attempt that lacks depth. The narrative is as frail as the human lives it talks about. It amuses me that Jessica Thompson and Blair Butler thought it was a good idea to make this film. The story is highly predictable and isn’t able to induce the horror or adrenaline rush that we have gotten from some of the earlier films of the same genre. “The Invitation” is totally not worth your time as the lack of innovation is not just appalling but extremely exasperating.
“The Invitation” is a 2022 Drama Thriller film directed by Jessica M. Thompson.