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The Movie Like The Invitation That Horror Fans Need To Watch

Karyn Kusama's "The Invitation" is one of the very best horror thrillers of the past few years, a festival of paranoia and simmering tension that's almost irritatingly effective from beginning to end. It's also one of the most shining examples of a decades-old subgenre that never fails to yield thrills: the single-location pressure cooker. From Alfred Hitchcock's "Rope" and Luis Buñuel's "The Exterminating Angel" to recent hits like "Get Out" and "10 Cloverfield Lane," there's a long, storied tradition of movies that confine a group of people to one isolated place, then slowly turn up the heat on them and the audience — whether for the purposes of drama, comedy, suspense, or outright horror. "The Invitation" puts a twist on that reliable formula by combining it with another classic horror starting point: the squeaky-clean facade of niceness and order, in this case taking the form of toxic Los Angeles yuppie positivity.

If you enjoyed that movie's shredding of social norms by way of escalating creepiness, there is another low-budget thriller set at a Californian dinner party that you should definitely give a try. While lacking the violent catharsis and overt horror construction of "The Invitation," it is arguably even more terrifying, with ideas and implications that reach even further into the mind after the credits roll. For all fans of brain-melting, anxiety-inducing sci-fi, "Coherence" is unmissable.

Coherence amps up the dinner-party-gone-wrong shenanigans

James Ward Byrkit's "Coherence" begins with a simple premise: eight friends are gathered for a dinner party. Two of them, Emily (Emily Baldoni) and Kevin (Maury Sterling), are a couple on shaky ground, and their relationship troubles are compounded by the presence of Kevin's ex-girlfriend Laurie (Lauren Maher) at the event. Despite this tension, the party goes well, and everybody is able to have a good time — until a comet passes overhead, and all the power in the neighborhood goes out except for one house.

For the sake of avoiding spoilers, we won't go into what happens when the friends grab some glow sticks and go ask to use the powered house's phone, and we even recommend that you avoid looking for summaries of the movie online, as some of them might give the game away. Suffice to say, the comet triggers strange, reality-defying events, and the characters of "Coherence" quickly find out that they're way in over their heads. Part of the fun lies in figuring things out right along with them.

One of many horror films made on a shoestring budget, without a screenplay, at Byrkit's own house (via The Dissolve), the movie is an absolute triumph of creativity over resources. Even beyond its impressive craft, though, it's simply a gripping, stomach-churning tale, which taps into the same sense of unraveling suburban normalcy as "The Invitation," and raises similar questions about the unspoken trappings of the characters' comfortable middle-class lives. And it's available to stream on Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, and Tubi, among other services, so there's no excuse for you not to watch it ASAP.