The Guest: A Very Welcome Visitor
Director Adam Wingard and writer Simon Barrett made a big splash with the horror film You’re Next. The movie had a lot of issues but it excelled at creating a fantastic heroine. Sharni Vinson owned the film and she totally belongs in the pantheon of horror survivors. Her character is a practical marvel who has no problem holding her own against idiot killers. In fact, you start to feel bad for the villains because they are in so far over their heads.
The best thing about You’re Next and The Guest is that they create memorable characters. In a world full of lame horror/suspense films it is refreshing to have memorable new creations. Too many of the horror icons are being recycled into oblivion. The Michael Myers, Freddy Kreugers and Jason Voorhees of the horror world have been homogenized and made soft. Dan Steven’s character David is a welcome new addition to a tired genre.
The Guest is a throwback action hybrid film that makes Downton Abbey’s Dan Steven’s an unstoppable badass. The story revolves around a family being visited from an unexpected guest. Their son died in Afghanistan and a fresh faced soldier shows up at their door. He claims to have known the deceased son and his polite demeanor wins over the family. He forms a bond with the bullied son and their 20 year old daughter has an obvious crush on him. However, nothing is as it seems, things go violently bonkers and the phrase “what the f**k is used to perfection.”
The Guest is a pure genre experiment that is equal parts nasty and fun. It borrows heavily from other films (I love this Grantland article) but it adds something different to the norm. Wingard and Barrett got the idea for the film after a double header of Halloween and The Terminator. Wingard had this to say about it:
The Alien and Michael Myers movies … you couldn’t really put together what they were. They were these like shapes. They were terrifying in their obscurity. That’s something that’s influenced so many people. Horror, in many ways, went way down that rabbit hole for many years. People are still riffing on those concepts, with the masks and facelessness of the killers and stuff. And I thought, What would it be like to do the inversion of that? What if Michael Myers, instead of being this shapeless guy following you around town from a distance, what if he lived in your house?
The Guest is bloody, gory and at times very uncomfortable. The goth techno soundtrack blares loudly while Dan Stevens kicks ass in a nearly monotone voice. I had to laugh as everybody chooses to ignore the oddness of Steven’s because of his clean cut looks and relaxed persona. There is obviously something wrong with him but he honeypots (Thank you The Interview) everyone into ignoring his constant violent actions.
The film eventually goes off the rails (in a good way) and devolves into a whole lot of insanity. It gleefully revels in its dark humor and the sarcasm is evident. You may have watched similar films but you’ve never seen anything like this.
Watch The Guest. Revel in the insanity. Enjoy the ride. Check out the soundtrack. Keep yout eye out for Maika Monroe.