The Peterson family is dealing with the death of their son Caleb who died in Afghanistan. They are visited by David, one of Caleb’s friends who tells them that he wanted them to know Caleb loved them. He stays for a few days and soon a series of deaths occur and the daughter Anna is convinced that David is not what he seems.
The story is simple without being “simple”. It explains enough for you to be grounded and invested without over-explaining every little thing to you. You are going to have questions when you finish this movie (I saw it for the first time in 2015) and I STILL have questions and I like that it makes you think and leaves you with something to talk about. Apparently, there were some scenes that explain things about David but I’m happy they were cut.
Dan Stevens carries this movie ON HIS BACK. Fun fact, this was actually the first project I’d ever seen Dan Stevens in. (Never seen Downton Abbey) and I instantly became a fan. David is charismatic while also being a little unhinged. It’s a fine line and Stevens walks it perfectly and is able to switch between the two with relative ease. He’s incredibly polite and has that southern charm but then you look at him for a few seconds longer and you can tell that something isn’t quite right about him. And then he flashes a smile and you forget about that uneasy feeling you had. (It also doesn’t help that he is absolutely stunning.)
The supporting characters did a great job, especially Miaka Monroe. They all have chemistry and the Petersons feel and act like the way you think they would. You have a family that is dealing with a tragedy, while also dealing with their own problems and weird things that start happening around them. That makes both them and you raise your eyebrow.
There’s great pacing in this movie. The bat-shit crazy action scenes don’t come in till the third act but up until then, you’ve seen the potential. There’s a scene halfway through the movie that takes place in a bar that shows the potential for some really cool action sequences and when its time, they don’t disappoint. There are a few quick cuts but nothing that makes the movie really jarring or unwatchable. It actually adds to the action in the scene because this relative quiet movie goes absolutely batshit crazy and I love it. Some reviews say that it goes off the rails and I can understand where the criticism comes from. It does seem like a sharp turn from the movie you’ve been watching but again, the potential is there, you’ve seen a little of what David can do, so seeing all of it isn’t really that shocking.
I do have to say that I’m not a fan of the ending, and not for the reason you think. I’m not going to post spoil it but I do wish it had ended a little differently. That being said, everything else makes up for it. Adam Wingard, I forgive you.
The score is really interesting because it syncs up to the soundtrack, which is made up of 80’s sync pop, so well. Its also used organically, rather than having background music that sounds out of place and detracts from the film, is used in scenes where music would normally be playing, a party, a car, a school dance. That way it adds depth to the scene without appearing at random.
In case you didn’t know, I really like this movie, it’s an original story with great execution. I may not be a fan of the end but everything else in the film overshadows the end for me. Another fun fact, I saw the trailer for this movie while I went to watch something else. (Funny how I don’t remember what movie it was but I remember the trailer for this movie). I wish I had seen it while it was in theatres because this movie deserved my money. The Guest is a good move, a REALLY good movie. I have seen a few comparisons to Drive and I can see it, Dan Stevens’ character is similar to Ryan Gosling’s character. It is also similar to drive in the sense that both movies aren’t about mindless violence. There are interesting characters and an interesting story that I would like to see more of, especially given the way the film ended.
And apparently, according to this tweet, we might get a sequel!!
Can you tell I’m excited?!
In all seriousness, go and watch The Guest, it’s a great movie that you should all go and see.
Originally published at http://www.thecinematicaficionado.com on July 9, 2020.