Bullet Points: The Guest
Every once in a while I’ll enjoy a movie to the point that I need to seek out and purchase the film after I’ve already seen it. I’m not much of a collector of films anymore (my Bluray player will be obsolete in 10 years), ever since my amazing VHS collection was trapped, screaming as it burned into a melted black puddle of goo in my old house (my house burned down), so forgive me if I don’t go out and spend a thousand bucks a year on movies I already watched from a RedBox. Either way, The Guest is one of those movies that I enjoyed so much that I actually did seek it out. And if that doesn’t impress you enough, I also got the soundtrack and spent an awkwardly erotic hour searching through Adam Wingards Tumblr account. So what I’m trying to tell you is that this movie was a real winner for me. It had me go through a number of emotions (I hate emotions), and it’s one that will definitely make it into my soon-to-be obsolete Bluray player once again.
The Gist: After the death of their son serving overseas, the Peterson family is paid a visit by the young, charming, and well-meaning “friend” of their son. His story about serving with their son seems to be true, but his intentions with the family are much more demented.
The Cast: I have to admit, I have seen several episodes of Downton Abbey (blame my wife), but I haven’t seen any with Dan Stevens so I guess I missed the episodes where he wasn’t playing a psychopathic soldier, hell-bent on killing anyone in his way. That is probably best since after seeing this movie I don’t know if I would ever trust Stevens in a non-The Guest role. To me he’s always gonna be exactly how he is here, and that is a “too good to be true liar”. His performance was great in The Guest. I could see how anyone willing to listen to him would immediately feel calm enough to trust and believe him. I wish we had gotten a little more backstory as to why he was doing what he was doing but it seems to be the vision of the director, Adam Wingard, to leave most of that up for the viewer to imagine. The other notable cast member is Maika Monroe. You may not recognize that name now but her films It Follows was recently released and left moviegoers with huge puddles of “feel good” below their theater seats. I have yet to see what people are calling one of the greatest horror films EVER but knowing what I know now I’ll be sure to bring a towel.
You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll punch your siblings in the stomach with joy!
The Villain: Dan Stevens is obviously the villain in this movie; you can tell by how mysteriously crazy he looks on the poster and by the words “Be careful who you let in” printed on the cover. I knew that going in but I still wanted to believe in what he was saying and doing. That reflects well on both the writing and the performance of Stevens as “David” as he infiltrates the family with a precision only taught to elite special operations commandos. His “research” on the family helped him to not only fit in, but also play the part of father, brother, and what looked to be like a love interest to the young Anna for a while. After watching You’re Next, the previous horror offering from director Adam Wingard, I knew that there would be an eventual twist and seeing how this movie is pretty much a straight up thriller, it was bound to happen. What I didn’t know, however, is how much I would have enjoyed the ride that it took me on as we watched “David” essentially become a member of the Peterson family only to do what he was “programmed” to do in the end.
Now all we need is that Downton Abbey/The Guest crossover.
The Action: Most of the film is a cerebral look at the actions of a mentally unstable and demented man. He plays all of his cards right with pretty much everyone on screen and it’s only after “David” tries to start helping the family that he gets noticed by Anna. The appearance of KPG operatives both offers a lot of questions as to what exactly was going on and also give “David” and opportunity to show his obviously highly-trained side, as he disposes of them rather quickly and without much fuss. The movie works in a similar way as 2011’s Drive. It has a very 80’s feel to it; both with the score and with the obvious, almost self-awareness that it has. The movie will most likely never surprise you except in that you might be rooting for “David” in the end.
Instead of sitting by and getting herself killed, Monroe really “grows a pair.”
Take it Home:
- Calm as can be: “No, I’m going to kill you.”
- S.H.I.E.L.D.: I hope it was a part of his plan but actor Lance Reddick looked just like Nick Fury.
- Sorry: I can’t not see Joel David Moore as J.P. from Grandma’s Boy.
- Soundtrack: The music is great and it fits perfectly with the atmosphere of the film.