Tuesday, January 31, 2023

INVITATION ONLY (2009) (Unearthed Films Blu-ray Review)


Label: Unearthed Films
Region Code: A
Rating: Unrated 
Duration: 95 Minutes 
Audio: English & Mandarin DTS-HD MA 5.1  English & Mandarin LPCM 2.0 Stereo, Spanish DTS-HD MA 5.1 with Optional English Subtitles 
Video: 1080p HD Widescreen (1.78:1) 
Director: Kevin Ko 
Cast: Ray Chang, Julianne Chu, Maria Ozawa, Jerry Chih-Wei Huang, Ying-Hsuan Kao, Lene Lai, Liz Ran Yang, Kristian Brodie, Joseph Ma, Tai Chung Chen, Vivi Ho

In the Taiwanese torture-slasher Invitation Only (2009) average joe Wade Chen (Ray Chang) is a driver for wealthy CEO Mr Yang (Jerry Huang). While in Yang's service Chen accidentally catches his boss having sex with super model mistress Dana (Maria Ozawa), and to keep him quiet about it the the boss offers him an invite to an exclusive party he says he is too busy to attend, saying that he should go under the pretense of being Yang's cousin, and to keep his mouth shut about catching him having sex with his mistress. Intrigued Chen takes him up the offer and arrives at the party where he gets the VIP treatment, enjoying a night of drinking, dancing and gambling, hooking up with the boss’s mistress Dana, and befriending one of the other guests named Hitomi (Julianne Chu). He's even gifted a brand new luxury sportscar by the party's intense host Warren (Kristian Brodie)! It's been an unforgettable night partying above his pay grade, but later when he and a small group are taken to a separate area of the compound under the pretense of receiving their gifts they find themselves exposed as frauds and hunted, tortured, and 
slaughtered by a masked slasher for the entertainment the wealthy party patrons. 

This gory slasher entry doesn't offer much in the way of originality but it is a sleek, well-made Hostel-esque slashery-torture entry with some ham-fisted commentary on how shitty rich people are. While it all seems a bit familiar it's quite well executed and the gruesome special effects that are sure to please the gorehounds. We have multiple throat slashings, stabbings, decapitations, dismemberment, blunt force trauma, and some truly uneasy torture sequences that involve nut-sack electrocution and rubbing salt pressed into deep facial wounds, plus hand, eye and facial trauma, gooey bug-guts and bloody gun shots. 

If you're a fan of mean-spirited slashery torture pics along the lines of Saw, Hostel and Live Feed I think you're gonna have a gory good time with Invitation Only. I'd definitely recommended this to that special subset of slasher fans who dig the more gruesome torture-y side of things. 

Reversible Artwork 

Audio/Video: Invitation Only (2009) arrives on Blu-ray from Unearthed Films in 1080p HD widescreen (1.78:1), the flick was shot on digital and this transfer sourced from a 2K DI looks solid with good clarity and depth, color reproduction looks accurate, and the black levels are pleasing. Audio comes by way of Mandarin/English DTS-HD MA 5.1, LPCM 2.0 Stereo or Spanish DTS-HD MA 5.1 with optional English subtitles. The tracks is well-balanced and offers good range, handling the oftentimes aggressive soundtrack with ease, and with no issues with distortion. Extras include a 3-min Image Gallery, 6-min Making of featurettes and a selection of Unearthed Films Trailers. The single disc release arrives in a clear keepcase with a Reversible Sleeve of Artwork.  

Special Features: 
- Making Of Featurette (6 min) 
- Image Gallery (3 min) 
- Trailers: Invitation Only (2 min), LDK (29 sec), Tokyo Decadence (1 min), Evil Dead Trap (1 min), Evil Dead Trap 2: Hideki (1 min)
- Reversible Sleeve of Artwork 

Screenshots from the Unearthed Films Blu-ray: