Invitation Only (2009) - Kevin Po (Mandarin with subs)


Wade Chen is a lowly intern at a huge multinational corporation in Taiwan. After accidentally catching his boss in a tryst with a model, his boss gives him an invitation to an exclusive club on the promise that he keeps silent. Once there we meets up with three other new members and they soon discover the club is not what it seems...

Given the billing as Taiwan's first slasher horror we are not in creepy girl with long hair territory, instead think Saw/Hostel with all the sleazy gore that comes with it. This is definitely not for the squeamish; a particular gruesome scene involving rock salt and open wounds seems almost typically SE Asian perversity on display here. However while the film is pretty derivative and at times.....well a lot of the time seemed a direct rip-off of those franchises a few things do save it somewhat - the first is Bryant Chang as the Clueless Wade. He is actually pretty sympathetic, he seems a normal decent kid working at a lower rung of the corporate ladder with the simple dream of trading in his scooter for a sports car. He comes across as far better than the American 'tourists' you can't wait to die horrible, horrible deaths in something like Hostel. The second is a high quality pair of boobies (not quite Erika Eliniak Under Siege quality but not far off), after some googling it appears to belong to Maria Ozawa who apparently does porn for those into that sort of thing. I was slightly distracted that in the almost obligatory sex scene despite the fact both of them are naked and going at it, she's still wearing her shoes. Baffling. And third the script does try to go beyond simple torture by bringing in admittedly very heavy-handedly some themes addressing the privileged/rich, aspirations of the poor, moral decay of a materialistic society etc with scenes that judder to a halt sometimes as the bad guy stops to give a soliloquy on the role of the proletariat in regards to the ruling elite. But as I say they are heavy handed and so simplistic to be almost meaningless.

Saying all of that I did kind of enjoy it in a mindless, slasher kind of way. It's nothing I haven't seen before and not one that will stay with you long after it's finished. You'll be able to predict the story beats well ahead of time but at 95 minutes long it didn't try my patience. It does perhaps shows what a likeable lead can do for an otherwise unremarkable film. Oh and hot, naked women, they help too.