The Guest (2014)
The Guest was directed by Adam Wingard who's previous films include Home Sick (2007), Pop Skull (2007), A Horrible Way To Die (2010), You're Next (2011), V/H/S (2012), The ABCs Of Death (2012) and V/H/S2 (2013).
It stars Dan Stevens [A Walk Among The Tombstones(2014), The Fifth Estate(2013), tv's Downton Abbey], Maika Monroe [Flying Monkeys(2013), Labor Day(2013),It Follows(2014)], Leland Orser [Se7en(1995), Alien:Resurrection(1997), Very Bad Things(1998)], Sheila Kelley [Singles(1992), One Fine Day(1996), Matchstick Men(2003)], Brendan Meyer [Tooth Fairy(2010),tv's The 100] and Lance Reddick [White House Down(2013),tv's The Wire and Fringe]
When a soldier arrives on the Peterson family's doorstep claiming to be friends with their son who recently died in combat overseas their kind hearts and over-sympathetic good nature forces them to invite him into their home until he gets back on his feet. He tells them that he promised their son on his death bed that he would check in on them and make sure they were all ok. When people suddenly start accidentally dying David's arrival seems way too coincidental....
My initial reaction after first seeing the trailer for the Guest was something like "oh here we go, The Stepfather rehashed with a pretty boy for the Twilight generation" which is a similar response that I heard from a lot of other people. I wish I had done my homework and not judged a book by its cover, as I would have checked the film out sooner. Also since its set just before Halloween it would've made for perfect viewing last month. After I read somewhere that it was directed by Adam Wingard I became interested and when I read somewhere else that it was a great thriller and one of the best slasher films of the 21st century I became highly intrigued.
If the film was made in the 80s it would surely star Jean Claude Van Damme or Michael Dudikoff and in saying that the story really reminded me of the Van Damme film Nowhere To Run, at first that is until the film takes a nasty turn. As I haven't seen Dan Stevens in anything else other than his recent small roll in A Walk Among The Tombstones , I can’t really compare his performance here to any of his recent work but I assume it’s a big change from his previous stint in Downton Abbey. What I can say is the 80s-esque electronic soundtrack wasn't the only thing that reminded me of 'Drive', Stevens' smooth quiet under-performance was very reminiscent of Ryan Gosling as 'Driver' so fans of that film might also see the similarities and enjoy The Guest also. Without spoiling too much Steven's smooth nice-guy quickly does a u-turn and turns into the most likable psychopath since Patrick Bateman. Leland Orser turns in a good performance as the awkward and passive father, a roll very similar to everything else I’ve seen him in but he always does it so well.(most horror fans will remember him as the guy that was forced to fuck a hooker to death while wearing a strap-on drilldo in David Fincher's Se7en), Adam Wingard seems to be improving a lot as a director as well.
While I enjoyed his previous films such as Home Sick, A Horrible Way To Die, You're Next and his segments in V/H/S, V/H/S2 and The ABCs Of Death (and a few more I need to check out) The Guest is by far his best film so far and hopefully will get him the recognition he deserves.
The film itself is honestly one of the best films I’ve seen all year. While it’s not strictly a horror film per se, it is a violent thriller/slasher with a high body count and more bloodshed than I’ve seen in most recent horror films. It would fit nicely on any collectors shelf next to other modern slashers or any of Wingard's other films. It kept me highly entertained from the beginning and when there wasn't action happening, the pumping soundtrack kept things flowing nicely.
I'll definitely watch The Guest again, I'll buy the Blu-ray, hell I'll even buy the soundtrack and blast it while I'm either cleaning the apartment or going on a killing spree.