The Guest review by Michelle Sommerville - Cinema Paradiso
Now, this is my kind of film. It has suspense, intrigue, action, and attractive actors. What more could you want? The first half of the film delivered brilliantly, and it only got better as the film became something entirely different. It doesn’t take itself too seriously, and you can just sit back, relax, and enjoy 90+ minutes of pure entertainment.
The Guest introduces us to David, who one day turns up at the home of the Peterson family. He does not know them, but claims he was a friend of their son who recently died in the war. They accept him into their home, thankful for the stories he tells of their beloved’s final days. But when people start dying, is it because of David, and can they really believe anything he has told them?
It’s an interesting idea to explore, and was done well. Of course not all of the action sequences were realistic, but that is not what you look for in a film like this. It is best described as a psychological thriller, that, towards the end, becomes more of a dark comedy, adding a twist to the generic action film genre. It references 80s/John Carpenter thriller films, even down to its soundtrack. The conclusion will not satisfy all, as it can feel open-ended, but it’s more about the fun of the story.
I have to commend the leading man Dan Stevens. His character ‘David’ changes so much, and from one scene to another you do not know whether to love him, or fear him. The other cast were good too, but it definitely would have all fallen apart and become silly if Stevens had failed.
Director Adam Wingard introduces you immediately to what the film is going to be about. The opening sequence and title is well done, and you can tell that Wingard enjoyed every moment of the pre- and post-production aspects of this film.
The soundtrack has also received a lot of attention. The 80s feel continued with the electronic score, and I wouldn’t be surprised if it becomes as popular as the soundtrack to the newly-released Guardians of the Galaxy.
Reviews for The Guest either proclaim their love, or criticise it mercilessly. The latter have mostly been done by vocal general audience members who missed that it was not intended to be taken seriously. The former are by online and in-print critics. For those that have studied 80s thriller films, they can see exactly what Wingard attempted to do, and how he succeeded.
The Guest will not be suitable for everyone due to its mature theme, sex scenes, gore, and violence, but it is all part of the story, and not added for the sake of impact. It is different to the current films out there, and that excites me. I believe it can become a new cult classic, and I give it four out of five stars because of its enjoyment factor, and because, even though it was predominately a black comedy, it still adhered to fundamental cinematic techniques.