Set in a glamorous home in the Hollywood Hills comes a psychological thriller that will have your heart racing as your mind tries to figure out what is going on between two couples. Known for multi-million dollar homes, famous movie stars and unspeakable tragedies like the Charles Manson murders and the Hillside Stranger, Mulholland Drive has a rich history of intrigue and speculation.
Karyn Kusama, who also directed Girlfight and Jennifer’s Body, felt that it was the perfect setting for her newest movie, The Invitation. Filming the movie in a real home off Mulholland Drive on a compact $1 million budget, Kusama has high hopes for the success of the movie.
“I love the idea of creating a movie experience where you have to keep up with it and investigate and engage with it while you’re watching. I wanted to get back to a really engaged movie going experience.”
In The Invitation, estranged lovers gather for an evening of good food and fine wine with friends. Eden (Tammy Blanchard) invites her ex-husband Will (Logan Marshall-Green) and his new girlfriend Kira (Emayatzy Corinealdi) to a dinner party with her and her new partner, David (Michiel Huisman). Will and Eden share the tragic loss of their son. During the evening, Eden and her new partner, David, talk about spiritual journeys. Will, the ex, feels disturbed and says “something doesn’t feel right here.”
“I was intrigued by the idea of letting go as a form of salvation and what happens when you take that too far,” said Huisman. “I thought it was a different approach to the usual thriller concept. It’s very psychological. And in the end, it’s very scary. Movies like this need to have an end that stays with you. When I read the script, the end of it was so great that I was dying to be a part of it.”
Phil Hay, screenwriter and producer, said he and co-writer Matt Manfredi wanted to “explore the true nightmare of what it would be like to be completely alienated from someone you loved. They look like the person and sound like the person but there is something that doesn’t feel like the person.”
“There’s a promise that LA seems to have that you can reinvent yourself. You can start over,” writer Manfredi said. “There’s something really dark behind that because it doesn’t always play out the way you expect it to and people can take advantage of that and a lot of that has played out in the hills before.”
The underlining threats of cults and new age practices makes the mind wander. Corinealdi, who plays Kira the new girlfriend, said “You never know if you might actually be in one! Especially in LA. You can find yourself in a group and you don’t know.” Corinealdi said she recently read about Michelle Pfeiffer being in a cult when she first came to LA.
“When she realized it, she had to get out of the cult. But I thought it was so interesting. It was something that was very helpful and reassuring to her. She was new to LA and then all of a sudden she’s following everything that they’re doing.”
Marshall-Green, who plays Will the ex-husband said “It’s built into LA. They’re all dreamers who are no longer dreaming. They need someone to dream for them.”
“There is that world of fascination about what is happening up there on Mulholland Drive,” Corinealdi said. “They’re always wondering, the people below. What’s going on in those hills?”
Highly anticipated, The Invitation has already won three awards and has an 89% rating on Rotten Tomatoes but only a 6.9/10 on Imdb. The Invitation comes out Friday in limited release, according to the Associated Press.
[Image via Drafthouse Films]