Thursday, October 22, 2009

In short: Invitation Only (2009)

Wade (Bryan Chang) works as a chauffeur for unpleasant rich people, while dreaming of a future of fast cars and models.

His luck seems to change when Yang (Jerry Huang), one of his bosses, gives him an invitation to the sort of party a poor guy like Wade would never be allowed to visit. Yang even gives him a change of wardrobe for the evening and money.

It's a special sort of party, it seems, taking place in an abandoned warehouse, with much talk of special gifts for first timers like Wade, a girl named Lin (Ma Guo-Xian) and a few other people.

After the contractually mandated sex scene with guest-starring Japanese AV-idol Maria Ozawa (not playing herself, at least), Wade is granted his greatest wish: a Ferrari. Truly, this is the best party ever.

So it is a little unfortunate that Wade, Lin - who will turn out to be a competent final girl - and the other new party guests will spend the rest of their evening being chased through the warehouse by Mister Yang and his goons, all for the entertainment of the other, evil, rich party guests. Nobody will be surprised that there will also be torture.

Invitation Only, which was as far as I know quite a hit in its native Taiwan, is billed as "Taiwan's first slasher movie", but it is more of a cross between slasher tropes, The Most Dangerous Game and the ever popular torture porn. Although, seeing how much of the film consists of people running around in a warehouse, I have a mind to call it a warehouse horror film.

And for a warehouse-centric piece of cinema, this isn't too bad - the acting is reasonably competent, the filmmaking reasonably well done, the script makes a reasonable amount of sense, the torture scenes are reasonably nasty.

I have seen much worse films and enjoyed them. The sad truth is that I have also seen much better films, films a bit more willing to take their themes a little further than "rich people are like, soooo evil, you know". Now, don't misunderstand me, Invitation Only is quite alright in its way, but I'm reasonably sure that if you watch it, you will soon afterwards have forgotten everything about it. Everything except the fact that it is a perfectly reasonable movie.


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