film reel image

film reel image

Monday, October 10, 2022

Who Invited Them 2022 * * 1/2 Stars


"Can we hit the reset button?" Uh no. Just get out of my residence and never come back again. Wait, why aren't you leaving? And what's with the smirk?

Anyway, a couple introduce their new home by having a party with some of their friends. Another couple crashes said party uninvited and unknown in their identity. Vexing. That's the rub of 2022's sometimes tantalizing but overly taunting, Who Invited Them

"Them" is a psychological tease of a film that occasionally revels in the conch of snobbery. It could be classified as horror but it's too new-fashioned for that. For 85 percent of the movie's 81-minute running time you're involved because rookie director Duncan Birmingham turns those screws. The way his camera moves and the way he sets up scenes in smoke-screen fashion, Duncan is an enlivened expert in the Hitchcockian. You kind of know where Who Invited Them is headed but at the same time, you kind of don't. That's the fun part.

"Them" stars Ryan Hansen, Melissa Tang, Timothy Granaderos, and Perry Mattfeld. They credibly play the two couples (or maybe couples) who through drink and drug, have a psychosomatic tug of war with each other. Through all the various subterfuges and gruesome flashbacks, Who Invited Them maintains its status as a talky flick that throws shades of creeping you out. Its setting of the Hollywood Hills shows us that these hills are "Hollyweird". 

What keeps Who Invited Them from greatness however, is how things wrap up. It eventually becomes part routine, home invasion slasher and part confusing ending (talk about a cinematic oxymoron). You'd think that after Birmingham's effectively off-kilter direction he'd settle in and deliver a more tighter final act. "Them" leaves you on the edge of interpretation and not in a good way. As a viewer I wouldn't have "invited" that. 

Written by Jesse Burleson

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