After winning critical accolades and industry recognition for her debut feature Girlfight, Karyn Kusama seemed primed to become a rare commodity in Hollywood: a woman director of studio blockbusters. And yet the dream would prove to be short-lived. Her next film, 2005's $62 million sci-fi Aeon Flux, drew terrible reviews and grossed a scant $52 million worldwide. Four years later, the Megan Fox-starring horror film Jennifer's Body -- while a smaller-scale gamble -- didn't fare much better. Now Kusama is back on the indie circuit with the low-budget horror effort The Invitation -- and if reviews from the festival circuit are any indication, this could be the movie that finally puts her career back on the right track. 

Now we've got the first teaser for the film, which begins with an affirmational vibe before promptly taking a dark turn:

It's a creepy first look, and I'm intrigued by the fact that Kusama -- a deeply thoughtful and intelligent filmmaker who perhaps wasn't well-suited to the studio game -- has directed a horror film that's actually about something real. In one interview the director described the film this way: "...a meditation on grief and loss carried within a suspense drama. At its core, it's about a dinner party gone horribly wrong and about the consequences of denying our pain." In an age of soulless exorcism thrillers and limp Blumhouse sequels, a horror film that grows out of real human emotion is a refreshing proposition.

The Invitation hits theaters and On Demand March 25. 

A former contributor to sites including MTV's The Backlot and Bloody-Disgusting, Chris Eggertsen worked in film development before indulging his love of pop culture writing full time. He specializes in horror, the intersection of social issues and entertainment and Howard Stern. He's on Twitter @HitFixChris.