Why the Unrated Version of 'The Invitation' Is Essential Watching
Gore is always better.
Editor's Note: The following contains spoilers for both the PG-13 and Unrated versions of The Invitation.
^ While not uncommon, The Invitation suffered the fate of many horror films before it: it was pared down to a milder PG-13 release for theatrical release. It's not an aversion to PG-13 horror, which holds as much of a place in the horror genre as it normally expects a hard R. PG-13 has delivered some of the creepiest movies in the past, like Lord of the Rings and Insidious. But the problem that arises isn't when a film is made PG-13, or just proven to be; but when the original vision is whittled down to a shell of its former self. Oftentimes, that's pretty obvious, even if no extension or replacement cuts were announced at the time. The Invitation may not have been a critically acclaimed masterpiece, but the film's unrated version offers horror fans a much more enjoyable and engaging experience that was largely missing from theatrical release.
It was shocking to watch the opening scene of the unrated film, knowing that there was a milder version of the same film, as well as a version that was forced into theaters. it's easy Don't expect too much from unrated cuts. Some effects are minimal and don't add or change much to the film. I personally didn't expect much from this, but this isn't one of them. While narratively yes, the film remains largely the same, it's clear from this gory-filled new opening that there's more hope for the film. That's just the first scene.
The Opening Scene Sets the Tone
We follow a woman who goes berserk in a gorgeous Gothic mansion, and soon begins to realize what she's doing as she collects piano wire and stone busts to keep herself down. She jumped from the second-floor railing of the house's grand entrance with wire wrapped around her neck. The dramatic clip ends with her feet dangling and her bust smashed to the floor. The Unrated clip goes a step further, showing viewers what kind of cut it will be, with the obvious addition of blood after the bust and after the bust her severed head slams into the ground and rolls to the front The view from the front camera. Only then does it end up on the title card.
This trend of bloody moments continued throughout the remainder of the film's run. Whenever the drama's kills are cut short, Unrated offers a series of spectacular and funny gore special effects that are sorely missed. While the added gore doesn't fix the contentious parts of the script, it does make it a very entertaining, almost horror-like horror flick, while theatrical cut feels downright flat.
The Third Act
The real climax of the film is at the beginning of the third act. Evie (Nathalie Emmanuel) is attending a masquerade dinner with Walter DeVille (Thomas Doherty) and her new family. Evie assumes this is the bride and groom we've seen before, but De Ville publicly announces that Evie and he are getting married. As she tried to stop him, a waiter's neck was swiftly severed on the table and her blood poured into a glass bowl. Until then, the guests are all vampires to Evie, suggesting that those glasses we see aren't filled with wine. Only watched the unrated version This movie, seeing the difference in editing was a pretty shocking experience. The theater censorship is astonishing. This scene is not something that can be cut, it is important to the structure of the narrative. If this scene were removed, the vampire exposure would be completely gone. Still, one could argue that it's still underwhelming in dramas due to the constraints of its ratings. The same event happens. The only difference is that the scene is blurred when the camera pans to the maid's throat bleeding. It's almost unwatchable, an odd choice to bypass the ratings.
The rest of the final scene has also undergone minor changes here and there, retaining in some places more violence than drama. During the fight between Lucy (Alana Boden) and Victoria (Stephanie Corneliussen) in the final scene, Lucy impales both of them with a spear. Unrated clips are able to linger on the spears through their belly for a moment, while the drama only shows a few seconds before switching to It needs to be farther away to show it in its entirety.
While this addition to the film is much smaller than the compelling gore it brings back, it's still worth mentioning. Gothic romance and horror depend on one thing: the romantic and sexy side has to be there for the story to go well. This is shown in other films like Guillermo del Toro's "Crimson Peak"; it's always present in the genre. Here, it still is. Evie and Walter have a sex scene midway through the movie, actually right before the aforementioned dinner scene. Like the tyranny, though, it's extremely pared down. While less dramatic, it's as blurry as the dinner scene later in the film. Watching unrated clips makes the scenes more cohesive. The frame stays sharp and gets a bit longer thanks to the addition of more revealing shots. All in all it doesn't add much, maybe a few seconds. However, gothic horror wouldn't be gothic horror without sex. Seduction and sensuality go hand in hand, especially when dealing with vampires in the pseudo-adaptation of vampires. This extended sequence makes the film slightly It needs to go further.
Gothic Horror Should be Sexy
The Invitation is nothing new, it's a recurring story, but this unrated cut of the film is a real treat for horror fans. Especially those who have only seen theatrical version, or have only heard of theatrical version. Unrated clips are worth checking out. It's a better time, and while it doesn't add much to the narrative or run time (only a few minutes of difference in total), the unrestrained violence and sex elevate the film immensely. Hopefully we'll see less of this over the years. I do believe that the R-rated version of the film probably made a bigger impact at the box office than it actually released. When a movie is made to a certain rating (as that is by no means meant to be PG-13), cutting it is almost always detrimental to the final product. A PG-13 horror film can only succeed when it's expected, or happens to get that rating. With the success of IT over the past few years, studios should no longer fear R and box office, it can be successful. The Invitation may be a revamped venue, but for horror fans looking for a fun, gory movie night, it's essential viewing.
The Invitation (Unrated Cut) is available to rent or buy on VOD, and on Blu-ray. A PG-13 theatrical cut is available on Netflix.