It's hard to remix Bram Stoker's Dracula after 125 years of others trying on print, stage, and screen. When a new approach works,

The Invitation takes too long to get to its best concepts, leaving us feeling "too little, too late."

The Invitation opens with a Gothic potboiler or old Hammer film prologue then moves to current New York City, where Evie (Emmanuel) is a struggling ceramics artist and caterer (Courtney Taylor).

Evie is taken away to the secluded countryside estate of family friend Walter DeVille (Thomas Doherty).

The movie works hard to make the Abbey a gloomy, menacing place.

Hot Topic shoppers will love The Invitation's goth visuals and approaches. Dara Taylor's booming score emphasises the film's lack of subtlety.

It lacks scares. The Invitation is about feelings, not gore or terror, for modern horror fans. The first two acts play out like a Gothic romance, but Evie calls out her white relatives and Walt on their privilege.

Director: Jessica M. Thompson Writer: Blair Butler, Jessica M. Thompson Starring: Nathalie Emmanuel, Thomas Doherty, Sean Pertwee Release Date: August 26, 2022