This film relayed the message that Adam Wingard and Simon Barrett, the director/writing duo behind “You’re Next,” wanted to make an 80’s horror/action film in the modern age. But it doesn’t come off as cheap like many others, mainly because Wingard and Barrett took their time to develop the story, set up the characters and construct a smart, stylish, dark, and darkly humorous film. You will have fun with this film. That is a guarantee.
Dan Stevens stars as The Guest, an ex-soldier who is the guest of a modern day family who is dealing with their own problems. When he shows up in town, bodies start showing up around town and we find out that there is more to this guest than may appear.
Stevens eats up the scenery, able to display his charm that makes him come off as a trust worthy, nonchalant house guest while also able to display his darker side. Wingard did a fantastic job of showing the charm that Stevens displays, while also relaying to the audience that all is not what it seems with this man. When certain events start taking place later on in the story, it doesn’t come off as a surprise because Wingard and Barrett set up this story from the beginning, so these twists and turns feel expected and natural.
Now let’s discuss the score/soundtrack of this film. It is easily the best of the year, and again, feels like a throwback to classic horror films. In fact, at times, this film gave of Halloween vibes, but not as a direct rip off. Halloween felt like a major influence in this film, and that shined through in the soundtrack and score. The electronic music helped set up the action perfectly, and we knew that when this music kicked on, something was about to go down. The music set everything up perfectly, and it was also enjoyable to listen to.
Even though this film is one of the best of the year, it isn’t without its faults. For instance, a major in the military popped up later in the film and he seemed inept and unqualified to do his job. Some of the decisions of the parents didn’t make much sense, and the mother seemed too understanding and welcoming of this stranger. The son also had some lapses in judgment that didn’t make much sense, but you might feel differently after being introduced to his character.
The only character in the family that we felt was actually acting in a sensible way was the daughter, played effectively by Maika Monroe. She didn’t just hand her trust over to The Guest like the others did. Even though Dan Stevens comes off as really charming, especially with his smile and blue eyes, she was smart enough to question The Guest and who he is.
I’m going to keep my summary of the action sequences short and sweet. The action in this film is well done, and shot with excruciating precision. It seems organic, yet brutal and really allows you to feel what’s going on.
Overall, The Guest is one of the best films of the year, with a killer soundtrack and a rising star in Dan Stevens. Adam Wingard and Simon Barrett took their time to develop the story and flesh out the characters. Even though some of the side characters acted insensibly at times, the star of this film was Dan Stevens as The Guest, and it was truly perfectly cast. Besides, who in these types of films actually acts sensibly?