It's a Wrap

Austin Film Festival 2002 reviews

R.S.V.P.

W/D: Mark Anthony Galluzzo; with Jason Mewes, Majandra Delfino, Glenn Quinn.

Competition Film

R.S.V.P.'s setup is a genre staple: A handful of partygoers, gathered at one house, are picked off one by one by a killer (killers?) among them. They don't know who the madman is, but we soon do, a plot turn that diminishes the fun of figuring out who the baddie is, but allows for much Patrick Bateman-ish grandstanding from the resident psychopath. That's just one of many sources from which R.S.V.P. gleefully pillages -- American Psycho, Clue, Ten Little Indians, and, especially, Rope, with its academic emphasis on the "perfect" murder. As befitting a film with so many disparate inspirations, the tone bounds from slasher to spoof, sophisticated suspenser to B-movie buffoonery (specifically, a sex scene that would have felt comfortable over on USA's goofy Eighties soft-core showcase, "Up All Night"). That inability to stick to a tone makes for a wildly uneven film, but also a mostly entertaining one, too. Writer/director Mark Anthony Galluzzo does right by the genre in providing a genuinely twisty script that is not only suspenseful, but well-written and often quite funny. By film's end, R.S.V.P. has perhaps tipped too far into the parody end of the spectrum -- it's much more satisfying when playing parlor games -- but it still functions quite amiably as an arthouse Scream. The presence of Jason Mewes -- Jay from Kevin Smith's View Askewniverse -- only adds to the "huh?" factor.

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