The Guest is a film by director Adam Wingard. In it, a man named David (Dan Stevens) approaches a family claiming to be a close friend of the family’s eldest son, who died in Afghanistan during the war. The stoic, smooth-talking David says that he has just been discharged from the military, and he is invited to stay in the family’s household for as long as he wants. But something seems off about David. He takes a strange interest in the livelihood of the family. The robotic way in which he carries himself makes him seem alien, yet the manipulative way in which he leads conversations makes those around him feel in awe of him. He doesn’t sleep. He can binge drink and do drugs with seemingly no ill effects. And he’s just plain creepy.
Dan Stevens plays the title role masterfully. He is cold but charismatic at the same time. Aided by the tight scripting of his character, Stevens gives a terrifyingly consistent performance.
On the other side of the coin, the other characters in this film don’t have a lot to say for themselves. It’s Stevens show. His character is the only interesting one to watch. This isn’t a jarring problem, though, as Stevens is so delightfully eerie that you can’t tear your eyes from the screen.
The soundtrack to this film is gorgeous, and the score is chilling. The music creates the perfect atmosphere, where carefully placed crescendos heighten suspense and overbearing drones terrify. It is a great compliment to the mood of the film.
Aside from a few nit-picky details, such as awkwardly stereotypical bullies and certain governmental characters who detract from the tone of the film and muddy up the third act, The Guest is a solid thriller.
This movie isn’t perfect. Things start to unravel in the third act, and the final explanation of the title character is sort of just brushed over as an afterthought. Lance Reddick’s character is stiff and unsatisfying, and he plays it flat. But, I found this film enjoyable to watch, particularly for Stevens performance. Adam Wingard is hit or miss for me so far in his career. I wasn’t a huge fan of You’re Next, but his contributions to the anthology film franchise V/H/S were enjoyable (and some of the best of the shorts contained therein). This film may have worked to turn my opinion of him in his favor.
This movie is worth a watch, especially if you’re an Adam Wingard fan. If you want to see it, you can find it through the links below:
As always, thanks for reading!
Have you seen The Guest? If so, what did you think? What do you think of Adam Wingard’s films? Let me know in the comments!
–Alex Brannan (@TheAlexBrannan)