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Film / The Invitation (2022)

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"Everybody's dying to meet you."

The Invitation is a 2022 supernatural gothic horror film loosely based on Dracula. The movie is directed by Jessica M. Thompson.

Evie (Nathalie Emmanuel), a young woman from New York, takes a DNA test following the death of her mother and learns that she is related to the British Oliver (Hugh Skinner). Oliver invites her to an upcoming wedding in the countryside, where she meets a dashing family friend, Walter (Thomas Doherty). However, the longer Evie stays at the manor, the more she suspects something insidious is going on.

The film was released on August 26, 2022.

Not to be confused with the other horror movie titled The Invitation, or the eldritch NSFW webcomic also titled The Invitation.


  • Actor Allusion: Sean Pertwee playing a butler of a bat-man milionare.
  • Adaptational Villainy: In this movie, Jonathan and Mina Harker are willing accomplices to Dracula and his entourage, kept immortal in exchange for their services.
  • Affably Evil: While a willing participant in Evie's forced marriage to Walt, Lucy genuinely likes Evie and wants her to be part of the family. She even sacrifices herself to save Evie from an angry Viktoria.
  • Alas, Poor Villain: When Lucy takes out Viktoria in a Mutual Kill, Viktoria has a brief moment where she looks sorry for Lucy and appears to try and comfort her as they both die for good, hinting that Viktoria really does care, she just has really bad ways of showing it.
  • Ambiguously Human: Mr. Field, Mrs. Swift and the Harkers turn out to have served Deville at least for a century. None are identified as vampires like him, and don't show the traits. However, at the very least they're somehow immortal too, as they appear unchanged in old photos taken in the 1920s.
  • And Now You Must Marry Me: After failing to escape, Evie is forced to go through with her wedding to Walt in the film's third act.
  • Aristocrats Are Evil: Walter Deville is a very wealthy aristocrat who's revealed along with the aristrocrats serving him as a vampire who regularly eats the help.
  • Big Bad: Lord Walter Deville, heavily implied to be an alias for Count Dracula himself. He wants to force Evie to marry him to maintain his hold on the Alexander family, as she is the last woman related to them by blood.
  • Big Fancy House: The manor much of the film is set in is very large and aristocratic. Evie is left in awe by it.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Oliver, who reached out to Evie to introduce her to her family, but in reality, to provide Walter with another bride, and Walter himself, who goes from dashing aristocrat to abusive vampire once Evie becomes rightfully afraid of him.
  • Bound and Gagged: Evie is gagged and tied to a chair after resisting becoming Deville's new bride inside his cellar.
  • Daywalking Vampire: As demonstrated by Walt, Viktoria, and Lucy, the vampires of this film have no problem being out during the day, hence they need to be killed by other means. Vampires weren't burnt by the sun in the original Dracula either, merely unable to use their powers.
  • Do Not Call Me "Paul": Evie tells people repeatedly not to call her Evelyn, but being the upper class English she's usually introduced as the latter despite this.
  • Dracula: The film borrows heavily from the mythos, with the manor being called "New Carfax Abbey" only the start. Walter is heavily implied to be Dracula, stating he was known as "Son of the Dragon" (what "Dracula" actually means). This would imply bride Lucy may be Lucy Westenra. Jonathan and Mina Harker appear late in the story. Mr. Fields is credited as "Renfield." And, of course, the three brides are foundational plot of the film.
  • Driven to Suicide: In the film's opening scene, an elegant woman hangs herself with razor wire. She's later revealed as having been Emmeline, Evie's white great-grandmother, who had killed herself to escape Deville.
  • Elderly Immortal: Uncle Albert Alexander was turned into a vampire at age eighty-nine, and despite his eternal life he is still quite frail and slow... which costs him big when Evie lights up the wedding hall while trying to escape.
  • Eye Cam: Mrs. Harker hits Evie over the head with an antique when she tries to run from her and her husband. The next shot is an eyelike frame that "closes" after the audience sees the old woman looking over the soon blacked-out Evie.
  • Evil Costume Switch: As the film progress and Walt’s true nature is revealed he goes from more light motif modern outfits to darker, more classical looks almost out of Victorian England. His final outfit during his wedding is completely gothic.
  • Fatal Flaw: Lucky for her, she manages to escape alive, but Evie's fatal flaw is definitely being too naïve. The circumstances of her being invited to meet her distant relatives isn't given the proper modern-day cynicism from her. It should've been far more alarming how insistent her relatives were about meeting her, and it should've been even more suspicious that a bunch of very rich, very white family members wanted to fly a complete stranger to the middle of nowhere on their dime. At the very least, Evie should not have traveled there alone and asked to bring a friend; now, it wouldn't matter after the reveal that they're vampires, as they could just kill her friend when they were good and ready, but Evie does not take enough precautions handling the situation and it costs her dearly. If nothing else, if a trip sounds too good and too perfect, it is and one ought to stay away from it despite their own curiosity. However, her motivations are driven by the fact that she just lost her mother and is visibly struggling with her loss, so she bought the story of a loving extended family too quickly due to her lack of family.
  • Five-Second Foreshadowing: An old woman that Evie tried to get help from in town is named Mina Harker. A few minutes later, we learn Walter is actually the vampire known as, among other names, Dracula.
  • Fourth-Date Marriage: Walter suggests marriage after he and Evie hit it off and consummate their brief relationship. She jokingly agrees but she realizes that he was serious when at the rehearsal dinner, he announces that THEY are the couple who's going to be wed.
  • Gender Rarity Value: Evie turns out to be highly valued because in the Alexander family, her white aristocratic English relatives, she's the only woman. Deville habitually marries one woman of their family along with two others which serve him, and so he's intent on her being his bride as well. They're willing to overlook Evie having biracial ancestry, although not all are pleased by it.
  • A God Am I: After Evie calls him a monster, Deville fires back that he's really a god.
  • Gothic Horror: A 2020s take on the genre. The film revolves around a young woman travelling to a foreign land where the people around her behave in strange and sinister ways. It takes place primarily in an old, spooky castle-like mansion with dark secrets and past tragedy. The heroine develops romantic feelings for a Tall, Dark, and Handsome stranger who may not be all he seems. There are supernatural occurrences, such as the heroine having ghostly visions and the revelation her love interest and several members of her extended family are vampires. The climax even features the heroine running for her life in an old-fashioned white gown, invoking some classic Gothic imagery.
  • Half-Breed Discrimination: Mr. Field and Viktoria both make disparaging comments about Evie, who's biracial (without making it explicit), therefore unworthy being among the white English aristocracy in their view. Or their master's bride, it's revealed.
  • Hate Sink: Mr. Fields, the butler of the manor, is introduced angrily berating the maids when they accidentally shatter a few glasses. He only becomes worse after The Reveal, when he not only brutally kills Mrs. Swift, but also reveals he killed Evie's great-grandfather while trying to kill her; right before he dies he mentions regretting not slitting the throat of her then-still-an-infant grandfather at the same time to prevent her from ever existing.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Evie finds friends in some surprising places when things start getting sinister - the housekeeper Mrs. Swift, who was friends with her great-grandmother, and her fellow bride Lucy, who'd had it up to here under Walter's thumb, both play big roles in helping her defeat him, though both pay for it with their lives.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Walt turns Evie into a vampire, giving her the strength she needs to fight back.
  • Hope Spot: After barely getting away from the manor Evie makes it to a nearby town and is able to convince an old couple to let them in their house. They tell the two of their plight and it looks like they are finally safe... Until she finds an old photograph showing the couple standing alongside Mr. Fields, prompting the realization that they work for Walt and have just told him where she is.
  • If I Can't Have You…: After stabbing Walter and ruining the wedding, killing Mr. Field, Lucy and Viktoria in the process, Walt becomes Evie’s final boss as he chases her through the manor and attempts to kill her for rejecting him.
  • Impairment Shot: Evie's point-of-view camera gets blurry repeatedly— as a servant is murdered in front of her, as she's knocked unconscious when trying to escape, and as she's walking down the aisle to marry Walt.
  • Important Haircut: By the end of the film, Evie has cut off her long hair, showing her transformation into a more ruthless person.
  • Kill It with Fire: What happens during the climactic ceremony and how Evie eventually defeats Walt.
  • Lecherous Licking: Midway through a conversation with Viktoria, Evie's finger is accidentally cut by the stylist working on her nails. Viktoria proceeds to put the bleeding finger in her mouth before casually laughing at Evie's disgust.
  • Long-Lost Relative: Evie learns of her cousin, Oliver Alexander, on taking a DNA test from a company she catered for. He's a white Englishman and from a wealthy family, while she's a working class New Yorker. He invites her to a wedding in England after revealing she descends from Emmaline Alexander, who had a baby with a black footman who worked for them in the 1920s. Evie accepts, which sets the plot in motion.
  • Maligned Mixed Marriage: It's strongly implied that a large part of the scandal Emmaline Alexander had caused by running away with a footman occurred because he was black while she was white. Later the butler Mr. Field comments negatively on this, although without explicitly mentioning race, as does Viktoria as well.
  • Man on Fire: As is typical of the lore, this is one of the only ways to permanently kill a vampire. During her final escape attempt, Evie knocks over the candles surrounding the altar, setting multiple guests alight in the process (including Uncle Albert, who is too frail to escape), and she finally finishes off the weakened Walt himself by kicking him into a fire.
  • Meaningful Name: Deville of course standing for "Devil", as a fitting name for a charming, seductive vampire.
  • Nice to the Waiter: Evie is nothing but kind towards the maids of the Deville manor. Justified in that she herself works in catering and is all too familiar with the poor treatment she witnesses towards them. It pays off when Mrs. Swift valiantly tries to help her escape.
  • No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: Mrs. Swift gets killed for trying to help Evie escape.
  • Not Using the "Z" Word: Only once, at the very end of the film, is the word "vampire" used to describe the villains. In fact, the true nature of the villains is presented as a twist. Furthermore, the name "Dracula" is never given to the Big Bad, even if the film does all it can to imply that that's who he is, between his two vampire brides (which he hopes to make three), him originally being from Transylvania, and the fact that he says his real name means "Son of the Dragon". He does refer to himself as one of the "strigoi" and "nosferatu", two other terms for them however.
  • Our Vampires Are Different: They are unaffected by the sunlight, don't age but look the same as when they turned, while they're killed with beheading, fire or a stake in the heart. Being gravely wounded can make them undergo Rapid Aging but won't kill them. They can sprout sharp talons and fangs on command. Also, they don't actually live forever, unless a suitable group is formed from the proper bloodlines, hence everyone's extreme desire to see Evie become Walt's new bride. They've been missing an Alexander for too long.
  • Parental Abandonment: Evie's lost both her parents (her mom recently), which is why she's initially pleased to learn of English relatives that she didn't know about, as otherwise she'd be alone.
  • Pimped-Out Dress: Evie is gifted an ornate red gown to wear to the rehearsal dinner.
  • Politically Incorrect Villain: Mr. Field and Viktoria are both unpleasant people who make their dislike of Evie known, with disparaging comments about her biracial heritage. He's shown to have maids killed, while she's a murderous vampire. Deville, who's their master, is a vampire as well who Field sends the maids for. He also makes a veiled comment on Evie's heritage, along with snidely saying that modern women are so hard to please as she objects to being his vampire bride.
  • Questionable Consent: Evie willingly goes to bed with Deville. Given how horrified later she is about learning he's a vampire, there is little chance though that she'd have done this had it been revealed before they had sex together, making it essentially a Bed Trick on his part.
  • Rapid Aging: After Evie stabs him, Deville's aged several decades physically as a result within moments.
  • Really 700 Years Old: Deville is implied to be Dracula, so he's at least seven hundred years old, while Viktoria says she's four hundred. Lucy is a hundred years old. Mr. Field, Mrs. Swift and the Harkers are all around a hundred years old at least as they appear unchanged in photographs from the 1920s.
  • The Renfield: Deville has many servants, including lesser vampire families who handle his affairs. Mr. Field, Mrs. Swift and the Harkers have also been with him for at least a century too (they may or may not be vampires as well).
  • The Reveal: Walt is really an immortal vampire who is in a pact with the Alexander family, requiring them to give him a bride in exchange for their continued prosperity. That bride is none other than Evie.
  • Sexy Backless Outfit: Evie is gifted a yellow gown as an apology from Walter. It's form-fitting and the only thing on the back of the wearer are four thin straps.
  • Sideboob: Evie's breasts are shown from the side briefly as she's undressing for sex with Deville, then afterward in bed as well.
  • Slashed Throat: Deville reveals that he's a vampire along with his guests after the butler Mr. Field casually slits the throat of a maid to serve them her blood. He later tells Evie he'd murdered her great-grandfather using this method as well.
  • Spiteful Spit: Deville tries to sell Evie on immortality as a fantastic step up for someone of her “background” (an implied dig at her biracial, working class heritage). She spits in his face for that.
  • Taking You with Me: Lucy dispatches Viktoria in a murder-suicide at the end of the film by pushing her and herself onto a stake.
  • Toplessness from the Back: Evie is briefly shown nude from the waist up this way as she takes off her dress while she's preparing to have sex with Deville.
  • Trailers Always Spoil: The trailer gave away most, if not all, of the movie's plot twists, particularly that Evie is the bride everyone is talking about, and that she'll eventually fight back.
  • Uptown Girl: Emmaline Alexander, Evie's great-grandmother, ran off with the footman, which had scandalized her aristocratic family. Having a baby with him too, and the fact he was black, made this all the more a scandal.
  • Vampire Hunter: Evie becomes one at the end, hunting down Walt's remaining followers that escaped the mansion fire, beginning with Cousin Oliver.
  • Vampires Are Rich: Walter Deville is a fabulously wealthy aristocrat, while the families who serve under him, though not as wealthy, certainly have wealth as well. All turn out to be vampires.
  • Vampires Are Sex Gods:
    • Walter Deville is a charismatic, handsome man who easily seduces Evie with his charm. It helps that he is actually Count Dracula in all but name.
    • Viktoria is also quite easy on the eyes, and spends a scene swimming naked in a pool.
  • Vampire's Harem: Walter Deville takes brides from each of the lesser vampire families who serve him. Since his Alexander bride had killed herself nearly a century past, he's been left without one. Getting her great-granddaughter Evie was his plan to replace her.
  • Villainous Crush: Walt certainly has a thing for Evie outside of the covenant’s pact. Going out of his way to seduce and charm her, giving her gifts and a ceramics studio. Even after his intentions are revealed he continues to call her his love.
  • You Are Number 6: Mr. Field the butler calls all the maids by numbers instead of names. It quickly is shown to be a sign of how little they mean to him, as he sends them off to their deaths.