Welcome to yet another dinner party from hell, which could very well be the tagline for Karyn Kusama’s 2015 film The Invitation. This film is the definition of a slow burn because whenever you think something violent is about to happen, it pivots in a new direction. However, this doesn’t mean it’s void of tension as it’s always there simmering beneath the surface. Every sound from the clattering of wine glasses to the constant beeping of a car engine is articulated to the point where audiences are left waiting for a release that will never come (until the last 30 minutes of the film that is).
Karyn Kusama’s 2015 film The Invitation is worth watching but not for the reasons you might think. It is best to approach the film without grand expectations and with the realization that it is not your typical horror movie. It is better described as a psychological mystery/drama.
The general narrative structure is straight-forward at best and highly predictable. The mystery of the invitation is revealed early on, despite the attempt of hiding it with the uncomfortable atmosphere of the dinner party. Still, there are some redeeming qualities that make this film worth watching at least once.
I’m never going to a dinner party in the Hollywood Hills, no matter how good looking the people are.
Subdued, meticulous and distinctive in tone, The Invitation is a film whose horrors lie in human behavior rather than supernatural forces. Director Karyn Kusama taps into the primal nature of paranoia and suspicion to craft an engrossing psychological thriller that will do everything it can to spike your anxiety up into the stratosphere. The film also serves as a poignant study of grief and the lengths a person will go to free themselves of its pain.
The strength of The Invitation comes from its unpredictability: it keeps the audience second-guessing every visual cue and character action. The sense of unease stems from dissonance among the characters. Their situation continually gets weirder as the film goes along, but the nature of social etiquette keeps everyone quiet. The filmmakers keenly exploit people’s innate impulse to side-step public displays of strangeness to conjure up an excellent sense of sustained tension. The film is a series of tensions and diffusions. Carefully placed diversions keep us and protagonist Will (a tour-de-force Logan Marshall-Green) on edge, constantly rethinking and reanalyzing the situation.
Below are three perspectives on the 2013 film Snowpiercer.
Sarah George Engine or tail; where do you belong on the train?
In 2013, Bong Joon-ho directed a film that received universal acclaim for keeping the audience on the edge of their seats. Snowpiercer is an action, drama, and science-fiction film that introduces viewers to a world where the lines between good and evil are blurred. Chris Evans portrays Curtis, the tail-section passenger determined to reach the front of the train. Jamie Bell plays Edgar, a young man who worships Curtis, but never seems to be able to impress him.
As the film progresses, Curtis is able to form a plan that gets tail-section dwellers to the front section. As the audience goes on this journey with Curtis, we see his horror as he realizes that the insects on the train are being used for the protein blocks being fed to the tail-section passengers.
The Jet Fuel Review is hosting a bouts-rimés dossier for our Spring 2016 issue in addition to its regular content. A bouts-rimés is essentially a collaborative sonnet in which everyone uses the same proposed rhymes in the same order. Please feel free to send us 1-3 bouts-rimés using the rhymes below in their specific order. You can submit your work here. The proposed rhymes are as follows:
From the Encyclopedia Britannica: bouts-rimés, (French: “rhymed ends”), rhymed words or syllables to which verses are written, best known from a literary game of making verses from a list of rhyming words supplied by another person. The game, which requires that the rhymes follow a given order and that the result make a modicum of sense, is said to have been invented by the minor French poet Dulot in the early 17th century. Its wide popularity inspired at least one notable tour de force, an extended satirical poem by the French poet Jean-François Sarasin.). The fad was revived in the 19th century when Alexandre Dumas invited French poets and versifiers to try their skill with given sets of rhymes and published the results in 1865.
Three Student Perspectives on the Endurance of John Carpenter’s Halloween:
John Carpenter’s Halloween is one of the most enduring American horror films ever made because of the sense of obscurity, mystery, and abnormality we receive from the character of Michael Myers. When first introduced to Myers, we are not sure of his past or why he behaves in the way that he does. We do not understand why he kills his sister or what his motives are for killing others. As the audience, we try to answer those questions ourselves and comprehend what is happening. In my case, I would argue that Myers was feeling some kind of grudge toward his sister for not taking care of him properly and not providing him attention. His sister was attending to her boyfriend and not him, which angered him tremendously, making him want to kill her.
If we look at the situation in a Freudian way, we could even argue that Myers had some kind of physical attraction to his sister. But we never really know his true intentions, and it is that type of secrecy that really captivates an audience. The use of normal, small town, teenage characters also allows for viewers to identify with what is happening, making the story more impactful. At some points it even becomes believable. A deranged stranger that hunts for his victims on a night like Halloween sounds like something that could actually happen. All this, topped off with the iconic violent scenes that spawned the usage of slash and gore in horror film, makes this movie revolutionary.
Yesterday I wrote about the unfortunate occurrence of forgetting how to write. This means that you sit down to write and simply can’t find the typical flow that you normally fall into. This may cause you to experience writer’s block and feel like you have no more good ideas left. This is one of the worst feelings you might experience as a writer and I think we’ve all been there.
For the past few months, I’ve been “forgetting how to write” on a pretty regular basis. I don’t know if this is due to a lack of inspiration or simple laziness. I do think there’s a tendency among writers who have day jobs to come home and want to use their evening time for things other than writing. It can be difficult to sit down and really force yourself to do the writing if you’ve been busy all day. But I’ve found that when you do force yourself to write, you feel pretty great. If you can stay in a regular routine, you might just get something done.
We all have our own ways of dealing with “forgetting how to write.” In yesterday’s post, I quoted author Jory MacKay, who said you have to repent for your writerly sins. You have to admit that you’ve been lacking in inspiration, or haven’t been writing as well, or have simply been slacking off. Once you’ve done that, you can move past the forgetfulness and actually write.
For me, shaking myself out of the writer’s forgetfulness either takes something very big or very small. That is to say, I either need a huge anvil of inspiration to hit me square on the head, or I need to just tell myself to suck it up and get some writing done.
What works best for you? Have you experienced “forgetting how to write”? If so, how did you deal with it? What are your strategies? Please leave them in the comments!