Posted by: Peter Hall
Directed by Kevin Ko, 2009
Written by Sung In, Carolyn Lin
Taiwanese horror doesn’t have much brand identity. In a way that makes it one of the more interesting Asian nations getting in on the International horror scene. Korea, Japan and (most recently) Thailand all have emerged with their own symbolic staples both in front of and behind the camera, but Taiwan’s contributions don’t seem to have any unique cultural signifiers to them. Sure, that’s just dumb Yankee outside talker, I’m sure there’s plenty for the Taiwanese to call their own that I’ll never be aware, but this filtered reflection of other nation’s horror is what interests me more than anything.
Take, for example, INVITATION ONLY, the latest ‘big’ horror movie to come out of Taiwan. There are no pale women with long-black hair hiding in the shadows, no crazy ghosts waiting in the wings and no unbreakable family bonds. INVITATION ONLY is about five strangers who are lured to a warehouse under the assumption they’re going to a VIP only party. It’s a party alright, but our five are only there to be inevitably tortured for the amusement of rich people. That’s right, it’s a HOSTEL rip off – there’s even a scene in which a cart full of body parts is used in an escape attempt – but director Kevin Ko is good at pulling off the heist.