- Dan Stevens as David
- Maika Monroe as Anna Peterson
- Brendan Meyer as Luke Peterson
- Sheila Kelley as Laura Peterson
- Leland Orser as Spencer Peterson
- Lance Reddick as Major Richard Carver
A thrilling throwback to 80’s thrillers with a horror ambience, The Guest is a stylishly constructed, enjoyable and delightfully over the top movie with a killer soundtrack to accompany it.
The Peterson family; mother and father Laura and Spencer and their two children Anna and Luke are mourning the death of the other son Caleb, who died while serving with the army in Afghanistan. A knock at the door reveals David, who claims to have been a friend of Caleb’s. He explains to the Peterson’s that Caleb told him before his death to keep a close eye on them and this further endears him to the family. David is amiable and very polite towards the family, which leads to Laura asking the charming young man to stay. The young soldier integrates himself into their life and seems to have a positive and helpful influence on them. He helps the shy Luke, who is being bullied at school, to stand up for himself against his tormentors and himself deals out a violent beating on them to really make a point. He also tries to help Anna’s friends out when they need booze for a party without getting busted. To everyone else, David is a breath of fresh air and just an all round likable guy. The only person who he doesn’t manage to charm is Anna, who feels that there is something very suspicious about this stranger in her house. She can’t quite put her finger on it, but she knows that something is not right about the seemingly perfect guest. It seems that she may have every right to be worried for herself and her family as a spate of bodies begins to pile up around town in gradually grisly fashion. And with a mysterious Major snooping around and knowing more than he’s letting on, it sets up for a showdown as David gradually begins to show a sinister side. But is it too late for the family to realise that David is capable of a lot of danger before death comes knocking? Because it’s only little time before they wished they had never opened the door to the handsome stranger in the first place.
Right from the start, Adam Wingard puts his own stamp on the movie, with a neon-drenched style and allusions to the 80’s. He just feels so in charge of this film and his command over the events is exemplary. Wingard really likes to play with the genres in this film and manages to incorporate thriller, killer action and creepy horror. And the ounces of style he gives the movie(he was the editor as well as director) adds up to an enjoyably dark thriller with striking visuals. The highlights are an electrifying bar fight and a tense chase through the confines of a school that has been designed for Halloween. A word of warning to those who are fans thrillers with realism, The Guest isn’t the most subtle film out there. It’s boldly done with over the top, bombastic elements that actually add more to the film and make it more enjoyable. Depending on how you like your thrillers done, The Guest may divide you. But I was a huge fan of this film and the shifts in style and tone it had. And no discussion of The Guest would be complete without giving mention to the soundtrack. With an ominous synth coursing through the veins, the soundtrack to The Guest becomes almost a character due to its moody sound and sense of troubling atmosphere it conjures up.
Dan Stevens is a magnetic screen presence in this movie. Exuding charisma, smooth physicality and ice-cold steel, he is eye-catching to say the least. We may know from the beginning that there isn’t something right with David, but thanks to Stevens, there is still an aura of enigma surrounding him as carnage unfolds. There are even times when we slightly root for David, even though we know that he brings a whole lot of fatal trouble to those around him. One thing is for certain, it’s an effectively done change of his pace from his role in Downton Abbey. Maika Monroe; delightfully spiky and full of sassy attitude, portrays Anna, who is the only person who suspects that her new house guest is about to wreak havoc on their lives. Monroe balances a sarcastic personality with a genuine sense of concern for those close to her and she sells it all the way. Then we have Brendan Meyer playing the timid son who respects David and doesn’t for a minute see that there is something very wrong with him. Sheila Kelley and Leland Orser have a normalcy to them that highlights the way that they are clueless to the truth surrounding David and makes his infiltration all the more effective and shocking. These are decent people, grieving for their lost son, whose kindness is taken advantage of as David leads them on a merry dance of deceit. Lance Reddick adds deep-voiced mystery to his role as a shady Major, who has some sort
Bursting with action, thrills and oodles of stylish visuals, The Guest is one hell of a blast if ever there was one and boldly bad ass to boot.