Streaming on Shudder from today is the horror-thriller, Who Invited Them. The movie – written and directed by Duncan Birmingham – stars Ryan Hansen, Melissa Tang, Timothy Granaderos, and Perry Mattfeld, and tells the story of a husband and wife who host a party, only to find themselves with a couple of unwanted guests.

In the movie, Adam and Margo are a young couple who move into a new house with their son. Keen to show off their home, they host a party which is attended by many of their friends and work colleagues.

After a few hours, the party comes to a natural end, and Adam and Margo say goodbye to their last guests. However, as they soon discover, not everyone has left the party – a young, unfamiliar couple remain.

The couple introduce themselves as next door neighbours, Tom and Sasha. They seem friendly enough, and over the course of the evening, Adam and Margo get to know their unexpected guests a little better.

But as Adam and Margo quickly learn, Tom and Sasha are in no rush to leave. Could this simply be a case of their new neighbours enjoying themselves too much, or do they have an ulterior motive?

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Who Invited Them is a straightforward little horror movie, which relies on a simple premise and good performances. It is a film which doesn’t try to be anything grand or complex, it purely wants to tell a concise story, unsettle and unnerve, and leave the audience wanting more.

The initial set-up is something we will all be familiar with. Many of us have hosted parties, have been ready to wrap things up, only to discover there is at least one guest who seems to linger long after everyone else has gone home.

Sure, things don’t tend to turn sinister, or at least, I hope they don’t, but it is a scenario we are accustomed to. So, Who Invited Them takes this idea and cranks things up a notch, to present something interesting and often quite suspenseful.

I won’t give too many plot points away here, but the uninvited guests of this story, Tom and Sasha, have a way of gaslighting Adam and Margo. This technique not only demonstrates how easy it is for them to remain with their hosts for an extended period of time, it also feels rather reflective of the world we live in right now.

Everyone seems to be gaslighting everyone else these days, from TV news reports to social media accounts, so seeing this sort of thing play out in Who Invited Them feels very relevant. As such, this film seems to hit an interesting sweet spot which gives it a contemporary edge.

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But it’s not just the story-telling techniques that work in this movie, as mentioned above, the cast are good too. The four main players all fit their parts well, with Timothy Granaderos and Perry Mattfeld having a ball playing guests from Hell, Tom and Sasha.

While it isn’t too difficult to work out who they are and what they might want with Adam and Margo, in all honesty, it doesn’t really matter. The point of this film is to watch them worm their way into the lives of complete strangers, and see how far they take things.

It might be fairly obvious how everything is going to end, but it is the journey that counts. And that journey is intriguing to watch, and perfectly pitched.

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Who Invited Them isn’t a gore fest, so those who like a lot of blood splatter with their horror won’t find it here, but they will find a solid, creepy little tale. It is also a tale which doesn’t wear out its welcome, clocking in at a comfortable and very enjoyable 80 minutes.

If you’re a Shudder subscriber, then Who Invited Them is a movie to pop on your playlist. I liked it very much, writer/director Duncan Birmingham has done a great job, and I think it is a nice little treat as we segue out of summer and into the spooky season.

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