Do you know one of the things I love about horror? It’s how versatile it can be. I know there are a lot of copy and paste plots which have been used again and again and again, but every now and then you get something different. Sometimes, there’s that odd gem within a sea of glass that just shines brighter than the rest. The Dinner Party is one such gem.
The story centres around a budding playwright (Mike Mayhall) and his wife (Alli Hart) who attend a dinner party hosted by wealthy, cultural elites. These social aristocrats have promised to bankroll the writer’s latest play to Broadway, but, in fact, have darker designs in mind for the couple. This becomes more and more apparent as the story unravels, with a series of twists and turns along the way.
Alli Hart stars in her first lead role and I think it’s safe to say it certainly won’t be her last. Her performance was absolutely spectacular, there was so much depth to her character. Starting out as withdrawn and painfully submissive, Hart’s character gradually evolves into an assertive, vengeful, survivor. This transition is brilliantly presented; a testament to Hart’s versatile acting and the brilliant cinematography of the team involved.
The supporting cast were a perfect fit for the movie, each bringing their own unique qualities. Bill Sage as Carmine had an unquestionable authority, whilst Sawandi Wilson’s flamboyant portrayal of Sebastian gave the movie that much-needed panache. This, coupled with the sultry performances of Kamille McCuin and Lindsay Anne Williams (Agatha and Sadie respectively) allowed for a well rounded cast. Williams also brought with her an air of spiritualism and mystery which proved to be a vital component as the story progressed.
Miles Doleac is clearly a man of many talents, having directed, co-wrote and starred in the film as Vincent, one of the social elite. Another versatile actor, Doleac oozes charm and sophistication which is a stark contrast to some of his previous roles. But there was just one thing I couldn’t get out of my mind – He sounds EXACTLY like Iain Glen (Jorah in Game of Thrones). Genuinely, I thought it was Glen sat there! He even resembles him in a way (Long lost brothers perhaps?) Honestly, watch it and tell me I’m wrong. Despite this moment of confusion (culminating in me walking right up to the screen to make sure…) Doleac’s role was well received and a standout performance.
The movie itself was quite compelling. It had an air of mystery from the outset which only grew more intense as the story progressed. Add in some ritualistic cannibalism, a generous helping of blood and gore with a religious undertone throughout and you’ve got a great flick! The supporting cast also played a vital part in elevating this movie to tremendous heights, although the apparent immortality of one did raise eyebrows. I’m not saying it couldn’t happen, but I’d imagine if one got stabbed repeatedly in the stomach and neck it would have a more debilitating effect than what was portrayed. Whether this was part of the plot that I missed, or just a stubbornness in the face of death, it didn’t really take much away from what was an extremely enjoyable film.
I hope you’re hungry for more. The Dinner Party is due to be released on June 5th and is available on DVD and Digital from Amazon, iTunes, Vudu, Google Play, Fandango Now, Xbox, Dish Network, Direct TV and through local cable providers. Make sure you bring your appetite!
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