The Guest is a fun and entertaining genre flick – the kind you can watch multiple times and still find every bit as charming and thrilling as the first time. Director Adam Wingard and screenwriter Simon Barrett – the duo most recently responsible for You’re Next – deliver an impressively minimalistic story that makes great use of a simple plot set-up and a relatively small network of characters to produce a highly satisfying action/thriller that is dripping with style.
When a mysterious and charming young man named David (Dan Stevens) shows up on the doorstep of the Peterson family claiming to be a fellow soldier and close friend of their son who was recently killed in action, he is soon invited into their home to stay for a few days. During his stay, David takes it upon himself to help the family in various ways in their daily lives, winning each of them over with the exception of skeptical daughter Anna (Maika Monroe) who suspects he might be a little too good to be true. When a couple of friends and co-workers suspiciously turn up dead, Anna’s concern grows and she starts looking into David’s past, setting into motion a series of events that may prove devastating for herself and her family.
The Guest navigates through several different genres with ease while also displaying a fantastic sense of humour from beginning to end, producing several darkly comic moments amidst all the suspense and action. Leading man Dan Stevens is spot-on as the enigmatic “David,” baiting the viewer this way and that with his cold, calculated movements and startling blue eyes. Maika Monroe is also very solid in the female lead as Anna, topping a similarly impressive and likeable cast. Wingard pulls threads of inspiration from golden-era John Carpenter and wears them proudly on his sleeve – particularly when it comes to the film’s pulsing synth score – but thankfully he never lets them weigh the film down or keep it from taking on a life of its own. The Guest feels like a modern cult classic in-the-making, and would make the perfect addition to any late-night double feature, making it well worth a buy.
The Guest is also available on DVD and VOD.
To check out my review of the film during TIFF last year, click here.