World Horror Cinema: Taiwan
By Sam Reeve
Language: Mandarin and English
My rating: 5.5/10
Although saturated with flaws of all kinds, Invitation Only has you rooting for its protagonists, and fans of gore will be thoroughly loving what is reportedly Taiwan’s first slasher film.
In a brutal, torture-porn tale of poor vs rich, we meet Wade Chen, a slacker “loser” who got a decent job because of his influential father. One day his boss insists that Chen go to a fancy invite-only party in his stead, but little does he know that the party is merely an excuse for the wealthy to humiliate and kill off a few unlucky victims. Sort of like Hostel, but with more cocktails and dancing. Set in a converted warehouse (because that’s where the rich hang out, right?), Chen must find a way to escape before he gets added to the body pile.
If it wasn’t for how the protagonists were set up, I probably would’ve found this quite boring. Torture movies just don’t do it for me, but the social commentary, simplistic though it was, added just enough oomph for me to get through this and still care about the surviving characters. Chen rose to the occasion from having previously been a boring, incompetent wiener, and the remaining female actually used her head to help her survive. She even ditched the heals. Seriously, you don’t see that shit enough. It was refreshing.
Also as hilarious as it was confusing, was the presence of a white dude as one of the chief bad guys. And he looked ridiculous with his shitty little goatee and hard-to-place accent. It was great!
Here’s the full movie with English subtitles. Enjoy!