Indie Thriller/action/sci-fi film The Guest is easily one of my favorite films of the year, and I don’t hand out this honor lightly. The thing that drew me to this film was the fact that it was by the same director of one of my favorite 2011 films, You’re Next. When You’re Next came out it was an indie film I couldn’t stop talking about. Well, director Adam Wingard did it again! The Guest is a very original story about a house guest that’s not only extremely charismatic, but extremely dangerous.
At first the stories plot line is a bit hard to swallow. A man shows up at a family’s home and claims that he is a friend of their son who died in war. Surprisingly, they just let this man in their home and invite him to be an overnight guest. After a few beers, the father in the home invites the man to stay for a few days, until he has a place of his own. Are these people so desperate to have a piece of their son back that they’re willing to let a complete stranger stay in their home? He’s a rather attractive stranger too that they have around their 20 year-old daughter and troubled teenage son. Apparently, the answer is yes. The children think the entire thing is strange, but somehow the parents are fine with it. It doesn’t take long before people are injured or dead in what seems to be some really, really, strange accidents and turn of events.
Dan Stevens as the mysterious “David” really gives life to this film! From the moment you see him on the screen he is charismatic, attractive and soft spoken. Although you still feel that the family are complete idiots for letting this complete stranger into their home, suddenly you have a little more sympathy for them because the guy feels just so down to earth.
Don’t get me wrong, this family is still extremely stupid though. One of the most memorable scenes of the film is seeing Dave Stevens step out of the shower. Maika Monroe who plays the family’s daughter has to close the door and take a deep breath after seeing him. It’s hard to be suspicious of a guy that looks that damn good.
However, what I love about Monroe’s character, Anna, is that she is the only one really suspicious about where this guy came from. Even when she lets him in a little bit, it doesn’t take long for her to snap out of it and get back to digging deeper into the mystery. What made You’re Next such a kick ass film was the fact that it featured a kick-ass female character that truly never gave up. The Guest has another very different female lead who is equally strong; this is always refreshing to see.
The action scenes are brutal and edge of your seat exciting! There is bones cracking and blood flying everywhere. If you were overcome by the brutality in You’re Next, then this film isn’t for you because it’s just as rough. The dialogue is smart and at times very humorous. You could easily call this a black comedy/ drama. There was one scene that was particularly disturbing to me that takes place in a diner. Without giving away too much, considering the rise of mass shootings lately this scene cut very close to home. It felt a bit salacious at first because it was so shocking, but after it took several minutes for my mouth to close I realized its purpose. Often times, there’s so much crazy shit going on around you and you’re completely powerless to stop it. While the bulk of the film had a foreboding feeling to it that was overshadowed by the action, the scene at the diner takes the feeling of terror to an entirely new level. The plot twists are also very cleverly planned out. Each “accidental death”, even if you know who was doing it, came as a complete surprise. Most of them were never even shown, which makes it more striking to hear the characters describe the surprising deaths and how it affected them. There’s a bullying story line that would give anyone who’s been bullied in the past a lot of joy. It’s the one (or maybe third time) in the film that you feel “David’s” violence is OK. In the beginning, David is someone who stands up for the little guy who is being abused. As the film goes on, it becomes clear he is no one for you to mess with or become too comfortable around.
The final scenes are a lot of crazy/action fun; however, I could take or leave the end. It wasn’t horrible and it wasn’t great.It was satisfying enough to not completely ruin the wild roller coaster ride this film is. If you liked You’re Next, you’ll love this movie without a doubt. If you didn’t love You’re Next, no worries, this is a very different type of film so still give it a try. The Guest is definitely one of the best thrillers you’ll see this year. If you have Netflix streaming, stream it now!