Haunted Honeymoon

Film Review: Invitation Only (2009)

SYNOPSIS:

Ordinary young men and women often dream of the unreachable life of the worlds 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 Richards 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.

REVIEW:

I often wonder when watching these …which came first the chicken or the egg? What of course i’m referring to is the recycling of redundant ideas. But don’t walk away yet…as this one deserves a viewing. Seeing that this is a newer release I would think it was influenced by recent US films such as “Hostel” and a whole slew of films that involve the corrupt rich taking advantage of the weaker species. Can’t think of the names, but we’ve seen our share. Then I begin to digress and think maybe all these cool ideas have come from the Asian culture to start with? Anyway’s… on with the show. “Invitation Only” refers to the invitations that are given to the elite to attend a well-to-do, fully furnished, debauchery and everything included showdown presented by a Mr. Warren and associates.

This party is secretive, guests only, fully decked out and full of high rollers, big execs, Ceo’s and money spenders. It also is well stocked with quite the supply of hotties who are just glad to be there and help into the indulgences. I was quickly reminded of the film “Eyes Wide Shut” that also had a similar situation mid film. I’m guessing by now that these kind of parties do exist for those who are lucky or can afford it. Enter in Wade Chen, a common folk kind of young man who seems to be somewhat taken advantage by in his day to day. This includes a sort of verbal abuse that gets inflicted on him by his supervisor who summons him to call on his days off.

An emergency pickup for a a Mr. Yang leads to a path of his wildest dreams being fulfilled. First a brief encounter with his magazine idol “Dana” and then an offer to attend an elite party per an invitation by Mr. Yang. The idea is for Wade to pose as Yang’s cousin. The party offers to fulfill their deepest desires.

Life is suddenly a new perspective as Wade is given money, clothes and an identity just to attend under a false premise. The party sees 4 more individuals who have also attended as newcomers into the exclusives. Wade, Richard, Hitomi and Lin are welcomed into the rich and famous club. Wade wins big on the poker table, gets to have sex with Dana and gets his dream of a choice car granted. All is going well for the newcomers …maybe too well.

As the table turns they begin to fall prey to what appears to be a masked killer on the loose. A cat and mouse game ensues and the film begins to walk a path of slasher type movies. Of course we get some pretty good FX and disturbing kills along the way, if not torture wounds. Though as soon as you think you’ve been there, seen that, we find the killers are actually the party hosts who have brought in these newcomers as a torture spectacle for the elite. Subjects are captured brought on stage and tortured in the worse possible ways. The crowd cheers, the host gloats in his power over them and we find that the party serves a much more diabolical purpose for the rich and bored. Socialites dressed to the hilt gawk and smile. Subjects are cut, electrified, and disposed of like cattle meat. The bodies thrown into bins and disposed of at the expense of their lives.

This film directed by Kevin Ko rings of other film similarities though it still entertains. The torture scenes are appropriately hard to watch and are emphasized to show the corruption of the group. The purpose of the film comes out in a struggle and conquer battle of the elite over the weaker. Wade gets his chance to show some balls to fight for his life and prove that the privileged are not above pure will power.

A pretty decent film that serves up a helping of brutality for the masses. Audiences will relate to the storyline by association and a cast that makes it all work. A enjoyed the film and thought it filled the viewing cycle pretty nicely. Most of the actors are first timers, that did fine out of the ball park. Slasher fare moments might drag a bit but the story changes help move that along.

Invitation Only (Jue ming pai dui) (2009)

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