Having watched Shudder’s latest exclusive and original feature, Who Invited Them, I was immediately struck with how much I dig Ryan Hansen as a performer. Here he plays Adam, one half of a couple who have recently bought well into an influential neighbourhood. Now wanting to show off this asset, Adam and Margo (Melissa Tang) throw a housewarming party to celebrate with friends and who they consider to be the social elite from their contacts.
Beneath this affable exterior however is a more sinister and unsettling characteristic that they both share, and it is this that writer, director Duncan Birmingham, along with the mysterious “neighbours” Sasha (Perry Mattfeld) and Tom (Timothy Granaderos) wish to expose.
Once the party has settled, Sasha and Tom hang back and slowly work together to find the cracks and flaws in Ryan and Margo’s world to break them. At first, they tease and play with their would-be victims, like predators toying with their prey. Soon, they begin to dial up the trauma and crank up the tension between them all.
It’s fairly slow-paced, but Birmingham’s exposure of society under the lens of a wealth facade is delicately tweaked out to a macabre and destructive end.
Where it mars a little, it’s in some of the forced performances that at times don’t ring true (Hansen excluded) and this jars the flow of the dialogue in places. There are some nice comical moments in the mix of the lurid lamentations. It leans heavily into the unbelievable by the films’ end which some may embrace and others will turn away from.
- Saul Muerte
Who Invited Them? is steaming on Shudder from Thurs 1st Aug.