It didn’t take much nudging to get me interested in seeing “The Guest.” After watching Director Adam Wingard and Writer Simon Barrett’s horror masterpiece “You’re Next,” all it really took was an engaging trailer with their names attached to it. Let’s just say that the duo have another sleeper hit on their hands.
A military veteran returns from his tour of duty overseas. David seems to be the genuine article. A soft-spoken and well-mannered young man, he arrives on the doorstep of a fallen comrade’s home to tell his family his dying words and wishes.
With nowhere else to go, the family invites David to be their guest for a few days as he makes plans for the future. It gradually becomes all too apparent that their new visitor might not be who he claims to be as his behavior becomes more and more erratic. What sort of skeletons does David have in his closet and where did he really come from?
While the story isn’t all that complex, “The Guest” works on so many genre levels that it can’t help but rope in and keep the attention of a diverse audience by offering something somewhat unique. As you walk into the theater, you think you’re getting a straight-ahead thriller. Halfway through the film, you discover Director Wingard and Writer Simon Barrett aren’t satisfied with just offering you the status quo. They’re driven to throw caution to the wind and deliver something unexpected to viewers.
Actor Dan Stevens has a bright future ahead of him. He takes audiences through a rollercoaster ride of emotions as you get to know his character and re-discover him all in the span of 99 minutes. There’s points where you love the guy and then want to see him get his own come-uppance in some violent and horrible manner. Stevens does all this with steely charm and commanding eyes that have a sort of mesmerizing effect on whoever he’s interacting with.
“The Guest” is rated R for strong violence, language, some drug use and a scene of sexuality. The violence in the film is really no more than what you see in a typical action movie. There’s some female upper nudity in one particular spot, which in my opinion could’ve easily been avoided and opened the movie up to a broader audience. Women get an eyeful as well when David comes out shirtless and wet after taking a steamy shower. He also likes to mellow out at parties with a few drags off a joint.
Director Adam Wingard and Writer Simon Barrett definitely have a formula that works for them and it shows once more with “The Guest.” They take everything you know about the action, horror, and thriller genres and blend them together into a tasty and compelling concoction. However, they find a way to turn all of it upside down just as soon as you ease into what you’re experiencing.