Movie Review: The Guest.
Directed By: Adam Wingard.
Starring: Dan Stevens, Maika Monroe, Leland Orser, Sheila Kelley and Lance Reddick.
A soldier introduces himself to the Peterson family, claiming to be a friend of their son who died in action. After the young man is welcomed into their home, a series of accidental deaths seem to be connected to his presence.
From the director of "You're Next", The Guest is a 100 minute thrill ride filled with violence, intrigue and a lot of fun.
The Peterson family are visited by David, who claims to be a friend of their son, Caleb, who was killed in action. David made a promise to their son that he would help out the family in any way possible, so that's exactly what he does.
Dan Stevens takes a drastic turn from his role on Downton Abbey and becomes a gun toting, knife handling ex soldier with a unknown agenda. He arrives at the Peterson's home uninvited but more than welcome and promises to help them in any way shape or form. Over the next few days, some mysterious crimes occur in the town that all seem to be helpful to the Peterson family, and we know the only guy who could of committed them.
The family welcome David into their home but are skeptical about him and with good reason. With a calm demeanor, buff physique and few words, David is a character who would make anyone a bit cautious. David is a character very reminiscent of Ryan Gosling from Drive and Only God Forgives, although David is blatantly more psychopathic.
At first David is just helping out the family with their troubles, beating up some bullies for Luke, helping around the house for Mrs Peterson but when David requires a gun from a dealer, the character and film go down a very dark road.
From the trailers, The Guest looked like a fun action comedy, the trailers only captured a couple of genres that the film delves into. The Guest is a perfect blend of action, comedy, thriller and horror and is one of the most enjoyable theater experiences I've had all year!
Adam Wingard (You're Next) is a director that certainly knows his way around a camera, this movie looked fantastic! The lighting and camera work was very impressive, especially in the last act which featured a lot of strobe lighting and fog. The Guest features a very 80's soundtrack with a lot of techno and synth music that was very reminiscent of a John Carpenter film. This film felt like a perfect homage to 80's action thrillers without ever seeming like a copy cat.
The Guest features entertaining shoot outs, dark comedy, suspense and an editing style straight out of a slasher movie. Even the title card felt like a horror movie. I have yet to see "You're Next" but after this movie, it is certainly on my watch list. What Wingard has done here is defy genre convention without ever losing the tone of the film. The film blends many genres together but it never feels jarring, it has a consistent tone to it that couldn't have been easy to pull off.
While the twist of the film wasn't as exciting as I was hoping for, it was still a satisfying reveal. The fun doesn't really come from the reveal, its what happens after that which is incredible fun! David is who he says he is, he's completely honest with the family, its just he doesn't tell them everything.
To the Peterson family, David seems very cool, calm and collected, but when David lets loose, smashing faces, breaking bones without taking names, we see the true nature of the character and its glorious to behold.
One of the best parts of the film is David's relationship with the family. They're never quite sure whether to cherish him or fear him. All of the actors did a great job of portraying that, David fills the hole left by the older son of the family but they know there's something mysterious about him that may end badly for everyone involved.
The film clocks in at around 100 minutes and I wouldn't have it any other way. The film has a fast pace packed with violence, comedy and suspense that left me completely satisfied. This is a film that is sure to please genre fans and leave them grinning when they leave the theater.
The film knows how its over the top, how its slightly camp and it has fun with it. Whilst having a dark story and even darker main character, the movie never loses its sense of fun, up until the end credits the movie never abandons its dark satire.
Dan Stevens steals the show. He is rumored to be in the running for the lead role in an "Escape From New York" remake, and that is a casting choice that I'd be very happy with. Stevens has a unnerving charm to him and is more than capable in a fist fight. In the last act his character goes in a direction that I never saw coming and his performance and the entire last 20 minutes impressed me a lot. From the way its shot, to the music, to the camp horror film it evolves into.
The Guest is an instant cult classic that delivers on all fronts, its scary, ironically hilarious and one of the most entertaining films of the year. I strongly suggest you go and see this film before it leaves theaters because you won't be disappointed! Wingard impresses throughout the film but its the final 20 minutes and the climax in-particular that makes Adam Wingard a director to watch out for. The Guest is an excellent film that had me hooked from the very beginning, I'm going to give it an A!
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