Wednesday, 21 April 2010



A Taiwanese addition to the so-called "torture porn" genre - except that porn is at least supposed to be fun, and there isn't much fun to be spotted here. Certainly there's less in the way of entertainment than in either of the Hostel films, or even the more miserable bits of the ludicrously overplotted Saw saga. Still, if you really do enjoy the sight of attractive Orientals being brutalised and butchered in a badly photographed warehouse, you might just get your rental fee's worth.

The plot of Invitation Only is simplistic to the point of a Ladybird book. A handful of working class types get invited to a posh party for the rich, powerful and thoroughly vile, only to find themselves as the main attraction in a series of onstage tortures for the benefit of decadent bastards who like to watch the underprivileged suffering. Much of the movie is thus taken up with our hero and heroine being stabbed, beaten, maimed, tied up and generally abused by the obnoxious sadists, before fighting back and escaping, getting caught, being mistreated yet again and escaping once more. Except is the menace completely vanquished?

The film was scheduled for the 2009 FrightFest allnighter but was dropped for reasons I can't now recall and in all honesty I'm not sorry, even though it was replaced by the underwhelming Umbrage. It's dark, grim, humourless, and not exactly profound in its analysis of the rich-poor divide, and even the occasionally enthusiastic gore and lovingly depicted inflicting of needless pain doesn't generate more than passing interest, and doesn't generate a second star. Plus the British DVD has large print subtitles throughout, even for the English dialogue. Overall, it's really not recommended.


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