This movie is top notch. It was reminiscent of It Follows with it’s strong ’80s feel and powerful score, not to mention a similar overall tension and the amazing Maika Monroe but it still stood out as a great film in it’s own right. Most of the thrills in this movie are in the build up; in knowing that something is going to happen but not know what or when.
The Guest is about a family that is dealing with the loss of the eldest son who was a soldier in Afghanistan. One day, a stranger named David comes to the door and says that he knew their son and was there with him when he died. He wants to tell them that their son was a hero and that he wanted to make sure that they were all ok. He goes to leave but the mother insists that he stay with them until he figures out where he is going and what he is doing. Slowly, it becomes clear that there is something that isn’t quite right about this charismatic stranger… he isn’t quite “normal.”
This movie is perfectly cast. Dan Stevens plays David, the enigmatic stranger. I knew that he looked familiar but I couldn’t quite place it until . . . “That’s Matthew Crawley from Downton Abbey!” I was so shocked! He looks so different and this is such a vastly different role. Anyways, back to the point, he is simultaneously terrifying and charming as David. He has such intensity throughout the film. Everything is deliberate, every movement and action has purpose. We never doubt that he is in complete control. Yet the control is teetering on a line that borders complete and utter insanity. Stevens really took a wonderfully written script and he ran with it.
Maika Monroe was lovely as always, being the only character in the film to not completely succumb to David’s charms. She plays the sister, Anna, and proves, once again, that she isn’t just a pretty face. She gives this character some great depth and is another strong female heroine.
I’m excited to see what Adam Wingard does next. Aside from this film, he directed You’re Next, which I also thought was very well done. He has a keen eye for subtleties and makes sure that everything in the film serves a purpose. Seeing as this films obviously takes a page from quite a few books, John Carpenter, Wes Craven and Brian DePalma to name a few, it really showcases Wingard’s skill that this still seems fresh and original.
Overall, this is a great film. The only downside is that I wish I had seen it earlier. Wingard has created a truly suspenseful horror film that will keep you on the edge of your seat right up until the very end. Dan Stevens was brilliant as David , the loveable psychopath. You should definitely watch this tonight.
Dan Stevens, Sheila Kelley, Maika Monroe