The Invitation: Release Date, Cast, And More

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As you may have heard (and, no, we're not done reminding you), /Film is going all out to celebrate the grandaddy of blood-sucker movies, "Nosferatu," turning 100 by declaring 2022 the "Year of the Vampire." It's a good thing we are, too, because the vampire genre at large has been having a rough go of late.

For starters, the long-delayed, "Spider-Man" adjacent, vampiric superhero movie "Morbius" finally opened in theaters to critical scorn on its way to disappointing at the box office. (The less said about Sony's complete misreading of the "It's Morbin' Time" memes, the better.) Then, not long after, Miramax dropped out of backing "Mina Harker," an intriguing "Dracula" re-imagining that was being developed by "Jennifer's Body" and "Destroyer" director Karyn Kusama.

Luckily, like any other creature of the night, it takes more than a couple of hits to knock out the vampire genre. 2023 is already set to bring us a pair of very different but equally promising "Dracula"-based movies in the forms of "The Last Voyage of the Demeter" and "Renfield." Before that, however, we'll be getting "The Invitation," yet another film that is said to be inspired by Bram Stoker's horror classic (albeit somewhat less directly, by the sound of it).

The Invitation release date and where you can watch it

Formerly known as "The Bride," "The Invitation" has nothing to do with Karyn Kusama's critically-acclaimed 2015 horror film of the same name (although it does give me a valid excuse to plug that thriller). The movie recently kicked off its marketing by, appropriately enough, launching its trailer with "The Black Phone" in theaters ahead of its release online.

Sony has scheduled "The Invitation" to open on the big screen on August 26, 2022, pitting it up against director Deon Taylor's own horror film "Fear" and Julius Avery's superhero movie "Samaritan" at the box office. Late August in general has become a launchpad for quality horror fare of late, what with films like "Ready or Not" and "The Night House" having dropped over that frame since 2019. I would also add 2018's "The Little Stranger" to this list, not least of all because it's an under-seen Gothic horror drama that could end up having a fair amount in common with "The Invitation."

What is The Invitation about?

"The Invitation" is officially described as "a contemporary horror thriller [that tells] the story of a young woman who is courted and swept off her feet, only to realize a gothic conspiracy is afoot." That reads like the setup for just about every Gothic romance one could think of, from literary classics like "Jane Eyre" and "Rebecca" to Guillermo del Toro's own swooning love letter to the genre, "Crimson Peak."

Speaking of which, Bloody Disgusting got a look at the "Invitation" trailer in theaters and said it "has a similar vibe to 'Bram Stoker's Dracula.'" That certainly points to something akin to del Toro's ghostly romance, albeit with some kind of vampiric menace at the core of the story (hence the "Dracula" inspiration) rather than a haunted manor full of specters. Really, any film that brings Francis Ford Coppola's sumptuous "Dracula" adaptation to mind is one that horror fans should absolutely be keeping on their radar.

The Invitation writer, director, and more

Jessica M. Thompson is directing "The Invitation" from a script that she co-wrote with Blair Butler ("Polaroid," "Helstrom"). Emile Gladstone ("The Curse of La Llorona") and Michael P. Flannigan ("Pitch Perfect") join Thompson as producers on the film, with Autumn Eakin ("Someone Great") serving as cinematographer and Dara Taylor ("Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar") handling the score.

Thompson, for those not familiar, made her feature-length directorial debut with 2017's "The Light of the Moon." A deeply empathetic but undeniably and unapologetically uncomfortable watch, the film centers on an up and coming architect ("Brooklyn Nine-Nine" alum Stephanie Beatriz) who is sexually assaulted and focuses on her struggles to process this traumatic event over the weeks that follow. It's a powerful drama that suggests Thompson has a lot of potential as a storyteller, so color me excited to see how she does trying her hand at a genre movie involving a much more fantastical type of monster.

The Invitation cast

"Game of Thrones" and "The Fast Saga" veteran Nathalie Emmanuel is starring in "The Invitation" opposite a cast that includes Thomas Doherty ("Gossip Girl"), Sean Pertwee ("Gotham"), Stephanie Corneliussen ("Mr. Robot"), Alana Boden ("Mr. Selfridge"), Hugh Skinner ("Fleabag"), and Courtney Taylor ("Insecure.") Garrett Hedlund was initially set to star opposite Emmanuel in the film, but dropped out and was replaced by Doherty in October 2021.

Emmanuel's casting is notable for a number of reasons, not least of them being she's a woman of color starring in the type of genre movie (a Gothic horror-thriller) that's typically been dominated by white actors. She's also done standout work as a supporting player in her franchise roles for years, including her voice role as the lovable Gelfling Deet in "The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance." More recently, Emmanuel got more of the spotlight to herself with her charismatic turn as a jewel thief in the "Army of the Dead" prequel "Army of Thieves," making her lead role in "The Invitation" a logical (and well-deserved) next step for her career.