Sunday, 23 April 2017

The Guest (2014) - Film Review


*Originally written September 22nd, 2015*

Even I'm quite amazed at myself for watching The Guest so many times this year and the laws of diminishing returns have not set in, each time I watch it, I either enjoy it the same or even more. Finally watching it again today on Blu-ray for the first time, I loved it even more. I've seen it enough times now (5) that I feel comfortable to put it in my top 10 of all-time.

The Guest is just a complete blast to watch, it's 90 minutes of balls-out-the-bath, self aware chaos that builds to one of best final acts of any film I've seen in a long time. What I love about The Guest is that it is a film that doesn't really belong to one genre, the first hour or so is a mystery thriller, while the last half hour is an action slasher with horror elements. It's an 80's throwback, it even looks like it could have been filmed in the early 90's, but the Blu-ray looks gorgeous, full on fine detail and deep blacks, the scenes set in the New Mexico desert look beautiful and the night scenes that have a Drive style neon color scheme looks stunning.

Dan Stevens
The story is fairly standard and not very complex. David (Dan Stevens) comes to the Peterson family claiming to be a friend of their recently deceased son, and when bodies start to pile up around town, the daughter Anna (Maika Monroe) begins to suspect that David isn't who he says he is.

The great thing about The Guest is just how self aware it is. It knows it's silly and embraces it, everyone seems to be in on the joke, which has made it hard for a lot of people to see what the film was going for. Much like Adam Wingard's previous film 'You're Next', which I didn't like as much as this, but still liked, it embraces its genre cliches, rather than trying to do something new. The only thing new The Guest provides is an amazing 80's soundtrack full of bands like Clan of Xymax, The Sisters of Mercy and SURVIVE. Steve Moore's Carpenter-esque score also added so much to the tone of the film.

Maika Monroe
The performances are great, especially Dan Stevens as David, who plays it perfectly as the charismatic man who can seem to be like the perfect gentleman and everyone's best friend, but then is insanely believable as a guy who is actually a complete psychopath. Maika Monroe was also excellent, I loved her more in It Follows, but I guess that's because she was the main focus of the film and was given more opportunity to act there, although that doesn't mean she was any less great here. Lance Riddick pops up for a little while too as a military leader of some sort too, and he was awesome, just such a joy to watch, watch the horror maze scene and you tell me he wasn't in on the joke. The main performance that mainly hammed it up was the father of the Peterson family, his performance was hilarious and over the top.

Adam Wingard shoots the film really well, it has a unique visual style and each action scene was memorable, even if for darkly comical reasons (The restaurant scene). Who ever thought the finale should have taken place in a haunted maze meant for a school dance was a genius, and whomever chose the song 'Antonio (Berlin Breakdown Version)' by Annie couldn't have found a better song for the scene if he tried. The very ending is amazing too, clearly paying homage to 80's slasher films and hinting that David is essentially an unkillable slasher villain.

The Guest is the most fun films I've watched such a long time, an amazing homage to 80's slasher films and thrillers with a gorgeous soundtrack and hypnotic performance from Dan Stevens

10/10 Dans

The Guest is out now on Blu-ray and DVD in the UK
Watch the trailer below:

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