The Guest, 2014.
Directed by Adam Wingard.
Starring Dan Stevens, Maika Monroe, Brendan Meyer, Leland Orser, and Lance Reddick.
A family is in mourning after their son is killed in action while away in the military. Soon after this loss, a mysterious stranger by the name of David arrives, claiming to be a squad mate of the family’s departed member. Soon David makes himself an invaluable member of the family, helping the younger son with his bullying problem and assisting the parents in coping with the loss of their eldest child. However, it soon becomes clear that there is something much more sinister about David, something that if revealed could spell death for everyone around him.
Adam Wingard is rapidly becoming one of my favourite directors currently working in the film industry. Bringing us works such as the excellent You’re Next and surprise sequel Blair Witch, Wingard combines his love of the films of the past with a sense of style and a level of talent that, in my opinion, makes him one to watch.
Although he probably wished Blair Witch landed a lot better than it did, but even the best have bad days I suppose.
But we’re not here to talk about those films; we’re here to talk about his 2014 work The Guest, a film that masterly combines multiple genres to create an utterly fantastic blend that you would be mad not to check out.
The acting is solid throughout, with Dan Stevens (who some of you might recognise from ITV’s Edwardian snooze fest Downton Abbey) being an especially charming leading man. Stevens creates a character who for much of the run time presents himself as incredibly polite and likeable, calling people “sir” and ma’am”, yet beneath this honourable exterior, we are given hints at something darker lurking behind his deep blue eyes, something that I won’t dare spoil.
Also doesn’t hurt that he kicks fucking ass, with one highlight being an especially brutal bar brawl in which he makes short work of a group of punks, fighting his way through them without so much as breaking a sweat. Stevens is just awesome in the role, pure and simple, and honestly he really should play more action roles – perhaps the role of a certain Mr. Bond lies the future, but that’s just my hope.
Now I may be cheating a slight bit by including this film in my list as it’s not strictly a horror film, which in all fairness is accurate. But what it is, in fact, is a masterful cocktail of genres, one part domestic drama, two parts action and one part horror; this film has all you could want in one film. You get gun battles with commandos, a chase through a haunted house exhibit and a fiery climax lifted straight from an old 80s slasher flick.
The Guest also has without a doubt one of the best soundtracks I’ve ever heard in a film, packed with obscure pop numbers like the wonderful Antonio and numerous retro-tastic synth tracks that I can only adequately describe as fucking awesome. This fantastic music selection adds a thick layer of atmosphere to proceedings and serves to enhance the films perfect emulation of the cult classic horror and action films of the 1980s. I cannot stress how awesome this soundtrack is.
So what do I make of The Guest and should you see it?
Well I’ve seen this film at least four times now, why? Because it’s bloody brilliant that’s why. The Guest is one of the finest genre blends I’ve ever seen, it is one of the best films of the 2010s, it has one the best soundtracks of any film ever, and it easily shot its way onto my list of my favourite films of all time.
I think what I’m trying to say is GO WATCH THE GUEST NOW!!!!!!!!!!
Flickering Myth Rating – Film: ★ ★ ★ ★ / Movie: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★