It’s the season of murder mysteries, and the new one is coming straight from Mexico. Directed by José Manuel Cravioto, A Deadly Invitation is soon to be released for the viewer’s enjoyment. This film has stars from the Mexican film industry and is promising to be a great whodunit. Filmmakers have had their own views about this genre since the beginning of time. Some have deliberately distanced themselves from it, as the template a unit has to follow cannot deviate from the strict norm. Some love this genre as it is entertaining, and people are hooked right till the end to know who the killer was among the suspects. A Deadly Invitation, apart from its title, seems like it has deep understanding and respect for the genre, and perhaps it might expand the genre like Knives Out did some years ago.
Plot And Story
One thing you can be sure of about the whodunit is that there has to be a dead body. There can be more, but having at least one is essential. It’s usually the wealthy statesman or the head of a family that gets killed; the rest of the members become suspects. A Deadly Invitation too follows the same template, at least according to the trailer. A businessman, an actor, a doctor, a true crime podcaster, a yoga instructor, and a few other people get invited by a wealthy woman to an island. There, the game begins, and it is on a yacht that the corpse is found. They all had received strange invitations and were related to the wealthy woman. Some even hinted at knowing her macabre plan, but the truth would be known only in the end. The story seems to begin somewhere in the past, as the wealthy woman gives a speech connecting all the eclectic bunch of characters present on the yacht to some events in her own life. She tells them how each one of them has impacted her, either positively, negatively, or both. And now the time had come to play a game that would change their lives forever, which was why they were invited in the first place.
The guests could never have imagined that her game would involve solving a murder. Perhaps she was about to reveal some ugly truths that someone couldn’t allow. Usually, the whodunits have a way of making the killer seem totally out of the purview of being seen as one, giving us a visceral thrill of discovery. The events seem to be taking place on the yacht, which might suggest the involvement of cross-island jurisdiction. There is certainly a titillating shot, hinting that the story might get racy at some point. How the detective solves the murder would be key, it seems. However, the trailer didn’t introduce an authority figure in a way to hint that he would be paramount. The suspects may play a game of cat and mouse, and eventually, the killer might slip up and be caught by one of the suspects. Having classic characters such as the housekeeper and the new gardener who wears an eyepatch, the film seems to have enough distractions for us. Maybe all this charade is an attempt to double bluff us, as if to deliberately throw us off with caricaturish portrayals, only to reveal that the killer was indeed the one our gut instinct pointed towards. That’s sure to get a ‘the butler did it!’ out of us
As mentioned in the trailer, the film wants you to know that there are people from very different walks of life in the movie. There is the businessman who probably suspects the wealthy woman to be someone with a penchant for pulling dirty tricks. The guests were an idiosyncratic bunch. All had seemed to irk the wealthy woman named Olivia and, hence, could have a motive to kill her. Wealth may just be the strongest motive, but there is nothing quite like the feelings of jealousy and rage that do the trick when it comes to pushing someone off the balcony. Agatha, the true crime lover, was Olivia’s sister, and it might just be the case that she solves her sister’s case before the detectives. Each and every character seems to have been given a unique look, and perhaps they all had different motives to kill Olivia, but only one acted upon it.
The performers in the film are quite experienced, with their credits ranging from theater, TV series, and films. Regina, who plays Agatha, seems to be playing the lead in the movie, as the namesake suggests she is connected to Agatha Christie, the novelist famous for her twisted murder mystery novels. The surprise could be that she herself is the murderer, but one would have to see the film to be sure.
When And Where To Watch
Produced by Perro Azul and Windsor Films, A Deadly Invitation is scheduled to release on Netflix on October 6th. There is a buzz around the movie, and mystery lovers will surely pounce on another one of their favorite genres.
A Deadly Invitation could go either way. It might be a cool, genre-bending film, or it might be one of those convoluted whodunits that begs the question of why it was greenlit. Directors ranging from Satyajit Ray to Akira Kurosawa have said that whodunits don’t make for good cinema as the entire revelation is cinematically just a tedious exercise of recording facts to finish up the story. That may be the case but there is no denying that this is definitely a great time for this genre. As Rian Johnson showed that if done with a specific wit, humor, and style, the characters in a murder mystery can come alive and become part of pop culture. A Deadly Invitation surely has the benefit of coming at a time when several films of the genre have already been released, and surely, the makers must have had the opportunity to make the film stand out. Watch it to see how they fared.