This film is not for the fainthearted. It is most unusual but will hold your attention to the very last scene. “The Big Chill” may come to mind, but the resemblance ends very early on. None of the actors were familiar to me, nor would they be to the majority of viewers.
The opening scene shows Will (Logan Marshall-Green) and his girlfriend, Kira (Emayatzy Corinealdi) driving through Hollywood Hills on the outskirts of Los Angeles to attend a dinner party hosted by his ex-wife Eden (Tammy Blanchard). Eden has a new husband, David (Michiel Huisman) whom she met while attending grief counseling sessions.
Hollywood Hills, CA - Wikimedia
The Guests are a Diverse Group
The guests are a diverse group - an Asian couple, a Mexican doctor, an attractive black female, and a gay couple. There was no mention of the origin of this group; perhaps they met while attending college. A non-member of the group was introduced. Her name is Sadie, and David and Eden met her during their two-year stay in Mexico and invited her to their home. When the doorbell rang, another non-member of the group arrived whose name is Pruitt (John Carroll Lynch), evidently another friend from their Mexico stay. All have arrived except Gina’s boyfriend Choi, who is known for his late arrivals. Will was somewhat disturbed when David locked all the doors, but Eden explained that it started for security reasons when she stayed there alone.
Will Roams Through His Old Residence
Will roams through the home that once was his and found a bottle of barbiturates in Eden’s bedroom. Eden confided to Will that since her time in Mexico, she has become different and is free of pain now. Will and Eden’s young son, Ty, had been killed accidentally, an incident to which the audience is not privy. Will made reference to the fact that it might have been avoided, had he been there at the time.
Logan Marshall-Green - Wikimedia
“The Invitation” is a Cult
It gradually came to light that David, Eden, Sadie, and Pruitt were members of a cult called “The Invitation,” which held a meeting in Mexico where the four members had met. David showed everyone a video which he received from Dr. Joseph, the leader of the cult. It showed a young woman dying from cancer, surrounded by members of the cult who had assisted the woman in committing suicide. The video was disturbing to the party guests. David apologized for the video and suggested that they play a game that they had learned called “I Want,” where each player expressed something they would want. Sadie started it off by saying “I want to kiss Ben,” which she did in a passionate manner. Pruitt said that he wanted to tell the group about his wife, Margaret, whom he loved very much. They had a fight, she fell down and hit her head, causing her death. Pruitt went to prison for it, but had been able to accept his situation, and still thinks of her every day.
Claire Decides to Leave
Ben’s girlfriend, Claire, said that she felt uncomfortable and wanted to leave. They were unable to convince her to stay. Pruitt had to move his car so that Claire could get out. Will was leery when Pruitt followed Claire out, and watched them from the window. Tommy warned Will that his weird behavior was freaking people out.
A Message from Choi
When Will took a walk in the yard, Sadie tried to kiss him and he resisted her. He said “I don’t even know you” and went in the house. He got a brief signal on his phone and was able to listen to his voicemail. There was a message left on his phone from Choi who said that he had arrived at the party early and was about to go inside but remembered that he was supposed to bring the dessert. Choi asked Will to pick it up so that he didn’t have to backtrack down to the canyon.
Michiel Huisman - Wikimedia
Choi Finally Arrives
Inside, Will asked where Choi was, since Choi’s message said that he was right outside. Eden and David said Choi never got there and everyone tried to placate Will. Kira tried to convince Will to leave but was interrupted when the doorbell rang. It was Choi who said he had to turn around after arriving early because he got a call from work.
Off to himself, Will retrieved the laptop that held the recruitment video. He watched more of the video. He then walked outside and watched as David lit a red lantern and attached it to the branch of a tree.
Will is Suspicious of the Wine
David poured everyone another glass of wine. Gina drank her glass right away. Will smashed everyone’s glasses out of their hands, telling them not to drink. He then told Kira they were leaving.
The Mayhem Begins
Sadie started to go berserk. Will knocked her into a dresser. Kira said that she was not breathing, and the others realized that she didn’t mean Sadie but Gina, who had taken her glass of wine and was foaming at the mouth. Miguel, the doctor, tried to revive Gina with CPR but was shot by David who had a gun. Then Pruitt killed Choi. Tommy was mad that Miguel had been shot and charged at Eden who slashed Tommy with a knife. Eden was upset and David tried to calm her down. It was mayhem.
Wine Glass - Wikimedia
Kira and Will Protect Themselves
Kira and Will barricaded themselves in a room but the windows were barred. They could see David in the backyard stabbing Ben and then Pruitt joined them, shooting at Ben.
Upstairs, Will learned that the door to the garage, which he had remembered being there, had been removed. Pruitt started to come upstairs with a gun. Kira attacked him with a fireplace poker until she was able to kill him. Eden was running down the hall and shot Will in the shoulder. She then apologized to Will and shot herself in the stomach. Tommy wrestled David to the ground, stabbing him in the stomach.
Not an Isolated Incident
Kira and Will walked outside on a hill overlooking the city. All over the hillside, they could see that it was filled with light from red lanterns. David and Eden’s house was not an isolated incident. Thousands of cult members were carrying out the exact same plan that occurred at Eden’s party.
I would not recommend this film. It is not what I expected. There are too many good and uplifting movies available to waste one’s time with garbage like this.