Movie Review: ‘The Dinner Party’ is Cruel, Gory and Loads of FunJune 4, 2020
With the movie The Dinner Party, director/writer Miles Doleac takes those feelings, of awkward silence and fun conversations, wraps them in a seemingly privileged society atmosphere, and releases some nasty gore and dread, that is equal parts unnerving and just downright mean.
We meet Jeff (Mike Mayhall) who is a playwright looking for an investor and his wife Haley (Ali Hart) as they attend a dinner party that could in essence be the big break Jeff has been looking for. Hosted by the rich surgeon Carmine (Bill Sage), Jeff and Haley are joined by a kind small inner circle of friends: Sadie (Lindsay Anne Willams), Sebastian (Sawandi Wilson) Agatha (Kamille McCuin) and Vincent (played by director/writer Miles Doleac). They are all ego, very eccentric, and as we soon discover, not really the nicest group of people.
Before you can say ‘dinner is served, the movie quickly turns from strange, awkward, dinner conversation to all-out mayhem, blood, and gore as the true identities of those at this dinner party are revealed, along with what they really want with the Jeff and Haley.It goes without saying that this is not what the married couple expected and as the viewer, we are exposed to levels of cruelty and surprising strength that makes for an insane second half to this movie.
Director/writer Doleac does a very good job building suspense and dread, moving the dinner party along at sometimes a slow pace but the payoff is well worth it. The casual cruelty and gore are played nicely by the actors and very believable, which makes some of the scenes even more disturbing in how they are executed. (pardon the pun)
I was a bit worried as to how Doleac and company were going to execute the second half of the movie but I’ll say this, they certainly surprised me in a few spots. Ali Hart, who plays Haley, is a wonderful surprise here, both in how she builds her character from a seemingly background character into something much more important. She is very believable and steals a lot of scenes she is in.
The score and look of the film are also impressive, with the house acting as almost another character in the film. The score helps both build the tension and explode in wonderful unison with the mayhem that goes on in the second half of the film. Also, as an avid viewer of horror over the years, I was happy that those involved making the blood in this movie seemed to know what they were doing as it looked very real.
While overall I enjoyed the movie, there were a few problems for me with the film. As mentioned, it does build up some nice dread but there is some dialogue at the table that kind of falls flat or feels forced. Also, the craziness of the second act might seem a bit familiar to horror fans in both the storyline and how certain scenes are executed.
That being said, The Dinner Party is a solid horror film and Miles Doleac and company all seem to be on the same page as it looks great, and offers horror fans a great combination of gore, dread, and mayhem that will make them happy they made a point to watch this film
Four stars out of five