Invitation Only (2009)

Imagine getting an invite to an exclusive party hosted by a mysterious millionaire, full of gambling and girls and where the rich and famous partied and your wildest dream would come true.
You’d be a fool not to go? Unless of course, this was the plot of a horror film and, well, then you would probably guess that this invitation was going to cost you a whole lot more than a pound of flesh.

Hailed as Taiwan’s first slasher film Invitation Only (Jue ming pai dui) is also their first foray into the contemporary trend of torture porn. Following in the bloody and now very well trodden footsteps of the Saw series and more obviously Hostel, it is a film full of blood, guts, screaming and torture by testicular electrocution.

Wade (pretty boy Bryant Chang) is a low paid chauffer who dreams of fast cars and models from men’s magazines. He’s the unlucky recipient of the invitation from his steel-faced billionaire boss Yang (Jerry Huang), who he catches in flagranti with a supermodel.

At the hedonistic party he drinks, dances and meets the other new members of the private club – all of whom have written down their greatest fantasy and hope to receive it at the end of the night. When Wade is presented with the expensive sports car he asked for, it all seems to good too be true and that’s because unsurprisingly it is.

Separated and stalked by a masked sadist, the innocent victims desperately try to survive inadvertently discovering the true (and again unsurprising) nature of the elite club. Meanwhile we are treated to a good hour of dismemberment, torture and gore.

Filled with genre stereotypes, clunky acting and strange sometimes mis-spelt subtitles which are placed over everyone including characters talking in English Invitation Only is full of flaws.

First time director Kevin Ko and his crew make the movie look like a student film, shot on high-def over a weekend in a warehouse. Although the guts and violence are reasonably well done there is no artistic flair or originality on offer.
Part music video (especially the gratuitously lesbotronic opening) part every other modern day slasher film you have ever seen except this movie is nothing new except its Asian cast and setting.

All that said Invitation Only is still an entertaining enough movie which offers full-on fans of torture porn a fix of bone breaking, glass scraping, machete wielding horror that should keep them happy ’til the next Saw film comes along.

And the lesson we can all learn is that if you ever get invited to a private party where all your wishes are granted, make sure you take your running shoes and some rubber pants.

Movie Rating: ★

★ ☆ ☆ ☆ 

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Alex Humphrey

Alex studied film at the University of Kent and went on to work for Universal Pictures in their Post Room gaining an inside look at the movie industry from the very bottom. Constantly writing reviews in everything from local magazines to Hip Hop sites Alex honed his critical skills even spending a brief period as a restaurant critic. Read more

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