Friday, February 17, 2017

Film Review: The Guest (2014)

The Guest (Review)
United States/2014
Format Viewed For Review: Netflix Instant
Netflix Streaming: No
Amazon Prime: No

"...an exciting action-horror movie oozing with style."

David (Dan Stevenson), a soldier, introduces himself to the Peterson family as a friend of their son who died in action. He is warmly welcomed by the family... until deaths begin occurring in their community.

The Guest is a action-horror hybrid with a pinch of black comedy sprinkled on top. The plot is simple—at least in the beginning. The film follows David, a recently discharged soldier. David introduces himself to the Peterson family, which consists of: Spencer, the father, Laura, the mother, Luke, the son, and Anna (Maika Monroe), the daughter. Charmingly enigmatic, David introduces himself as a friend of the Peterson family's slain son, Caleb. He is welcomed to the family, where he helps Laura cope with the loss and Luke deal with his bullying—among other things. Eventually, people start dying—and all of the evidence leads to David. The 'twist' is interesting and unique. The climax was very well executed. And, the ending was interesting.


The Guest is a great movie. It is engaging from beginning to end thanks to its mixture of genres. It offers plenty of suspense and violence. The action sequences are well executed and perfectly timed. Humor is very subjective, but a lot of the jokes actually landed in this film. It has some mystery, too. The twist isn't perfect, it's vague and minimal, but it offers just enough to make you think: I can work with that. I think it's helped by its use of all of these elements. It stays on its toes throughout most of the film. I think most of my complaints—such as a handful of dragged out and unnecessary scenes—would come off as nitpicks.

Dan Stevenson is great as the leading man. He is charismatic, but he doesn't falter when he has to be a bit psychotic, either. Maika Monroe performs well, too. The entire cast was great, really. The film was shot very well. I enjoyed the camerawork. The choice of music was great, too, really helping in develop the film's overall style. The movie was written by Simon Barrett and directed by Adam Wingard. Barrett and Wingard work very well with this film. I've seen a few films from these collaborators and this is their best. After 'deep' consideration—a few minutes— I think Wingard is a great director all-around. The writing is usually what hurts his other films, like You're Next and Blair Witch. However, Barrett did well on this one.

Overall, The Guest is a great movie. It's an exciting action-horror movie oozing with style. If you're looking for something refreshing, this is for you. I hope Barrett and Wingard can capture this magic again in the future.

Score: 8/10
Parental Guide: Strong violence and blood.

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