Review: INVITATION ONLY 絕命派對 (2009) | Casey's Movie Mania | Movie Reviews, Features & Others

Wednesday, 28 April 2010

Review: INVITATION ONLY 絕命派對 (2009)


HAILED as "Taiwan's first slasher film", it should have been saying a lot for INVITATION ONLY. Unfortunately rookie director Kevin Ko's directorial debut is nothing more extraordinary than being one of those listless and increasingly tedious "torture porn" sub-genre in which he borrows heavily from HOSTEL (2006). 

Not surprisingly, the plot is as typical as it goes: Young and handsome loser Wade (Bryant Chang) works as a chauffeur who is one day shows up late for work, and then accidentally catches his boss CEO Yang (Jerry Huang) making love in the backseat of his limo with a model, Dana (Maria Ozawa). So in order to shut Wade up, Yang rewards him with an invitation card to an exclusive party strictly reserved for the wealthy people. All Wade have to do is to pose as Yang's cousin, and at the same time he could ask what he wants for in that particular night. Once there, Wade is looking socially awkward at first until he meets with a cute girl in pink dress named Hitomi (Julianne), also a newcomer as well. Soon it doesn't take long before he gets the hang of the situation and enjoys himself to the last, including manage to fulfill his greatest wish -- a brand-new Ferrari ; a large amount of money for gambling courtesy from Yang; and of course a night of sizzling dance and fulfilling sex with his dream model, Dana herself. So far, so good until these newcomers to this exclusive party, which includes Wade, Hitomi and three others are slowly subjected to stalking and slashing from a masked assailant. What follows next is a series of gruesome violence and murder as they attempt to survive and escape from the party. 

Sung In and Carolyn Lin's screenplay obviously follows every template from the usual "torture-porn" sub-genre you have seen many times and plays everything in a straightforward, formulaic manner. The result is strictly foreign, and director Kevin Ko could have added some local zest to give this film an otherwise refreshing angle. Technical credits are nothing special, since the film was made in low-budget cost with the production design is shoddy at best and the camera work are a mixed bag.
The most annoying thing of all, is Ko prefers to jerk his camera a lot during the chase sequence. There are plenty of gore and blood here, though there are hardly the one that are done better than their like-minded Hollywood counterparts. 

Not surprisingly though, the cast are strictly cardboard cutouts: Bryant Chang may have been good-looking enough for a leading man presence, but his acting is way wooden while popular Eurasian AV starlet Maria Ozawa made her first and gratuitous mainstream cameo appearance in nothing more than involving in an obligatory sex scene designed for the sake of exploitation. 

Though the film fulfills its genre trapping with a generous dosage of good-looking people, blood, gore and sex -- INVITATION ONLY remains a forgettable cinema that could have done better than just being a mere copycat.

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