The Dinner Party

I don’t know about the rest of you folks, but it goes without saying that this pandemic sucks. It’s a good thing that there a plenty of movies to help pass the time while we wait this thing out. I’ve gone through about a 3rd of the remaining DVDs in my arsenal. Before I get to my digital downloads though, ‘Skewed & Reviewed’ was gracious enough to send a few new releases my way to review. Today’s selection for your consideration is one I believe is an excellent choice for those late Friday or Saturday nights when under ‘normal circumstances’ one might decide to throw a viewing party at the local cafe or a friend’s house. Typically where a horror or classic sci-fi film might be the ‘weapon of choice’ for the evening.

Question. Have you ever been to a dinner party? Where you and your friends or associates decided to get all fancied-up and decided to do the whole ‘wine, a three course meal, and sophisticated conversation’ bit? Well, get ready because that’s what you’re in for. At least that’s how it appears in the beginning. ‘Dinner Party’ is a 2020 Thriller/Horror film from Miles Doleac and cowrote by Doleac and Michael Donovan Horn. The film stars Mike Mayhall, Alli Hart, Sawandi Wilson, Bill Sage, Lindsay Anne Williams, Miles Doleac, Kamille McCuin, Hollis Ellzey, Judyth Daley, Joseph VanZandt, Ritchie Montgomery, Sherri Eakin, Jeremy London, and Rachel Ryals.

The time? Evening. The place? A fashionable home in the hills. A gathering place of sorts for a group of well-to-do writers, artists, and people of culture and influence. All of them wealthy. People who can open doors for someone looking for their big break. That’s what brings a promising young playwright and his wife to the home to accept a dinner invitation from this collective of elites. What appears to start off as the chance of a lifetime for Jeff, a writer who hopes the group will put up the money to put his latest play in Broadway, and his wife Haley soon descends into their worst nightmare as the group brought the young couple there not to help them but to desecrate and consume them. Even then, the night of horrors isn’t over as the physical and spiritual sacrifice of the young couple is only the beginning. A plan within a plan reveals itself as more sacrifices will be made before the night is over and will end with a union that is not foreseen until the final moments.

I absolutely mean this as a compliment to the film. To me, it seemed like an unused script for the ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’ TV series that had the cast removed and then was made into a rated R cult film. The first few minutes basically build up the story. It quickly sets the pace and then the film gathers momentum and reveals itself without taking too long. It was a simple plot that they managed to turn into a 116 minute film. The ‘horror’ escalates at the right pace and with every turn of the story it goes to “horror” then “wait … what?!” Each member of the cast seemed to really dig into the part and throw themselves into their respective rolls. And not to spoil it or anything, but there was no ‘happy ending’. So to speak. The blood wasn’t rushing like the rivers during a storm but they certainly didn’t hesitate with it either. I’d give them film 4 our of 5 stars. Bloody brilliant in it’s execution in front of and behind the camera. It’ll certainly make me hesitate the next time I’m asked to put on my Sunday best and attend a fancy dinner or gala with a group of folks I’ve never met before.