The Guest (2014)

The Guest
Guest In Show

Director: Adam Wingard
Running Time: 99 Minutes
Starring: Dan Stevens, Maika Monroe, Brendan Meyer, Lance Reddick

For his follow-up to last years well received You're Next, Adam Wingard delivers a film which begins with the makings of a thriller, but does not intend to stay that way. A soldier named David (Stevens) arrives on the doorstep of the Peterson family, claiming to be a friend of their son, Caleb, who died in combat. After he is welcomed in, a series of accidental deaths begin occurring throughout, seemingly connected to David's presence.

Wingard and writer Simon Barrett never settle on a singular genre to base the film in, utilizing a mixture to great effect. Things kick off in the vein of a thriller, with David cast in suspicion as the audience is left to wonder if he's truthful about his motivations. Doses of black humor are also thrown in throughout, with the attempt to add some levity resulting in great effect. But it's towards the last 20 minutes when the tension builds to a dreading effect, slowly revealing the true intentions that this is a horror film.

David readies his weapon.

Considering he's primarily known for his role in Downton Abbey, Dan Stevens is cast against type, but manages to massively deliver. He gives the right amount of charming when it comes to gaining the trust of each member of the Peterson family, but when that mask slips and he shows his true self, that's when he become downright chilling. It's a performance that requires both empathy and brutality, and Stevens manages to do a fantastic job all round.

Each of the Peterson family are shown to deal with their loss in their own way, with the father taking to drinking and the mother unable to help but cry. Luke looks up to David as a big brother figure, with Brendan Meyer doing a good job capturing his emotions on-screen in an understandable manner. Maika Monroe proves to be a rising star, playing the likable, strong willed heroine who is initially taken in by David's charms, but then realises that something is off.

Special mention must go to Steve Moore's electro soundtrack, which does a perfect job of setting the tone and accompanying Robby Baumgartner's stylish cinematography. The combined efforts leaves a remarkable result that creates an effective throwback to the era that was the 80's.

The Guest sees Adam Wingard bring together a mixture of genres to a formidable standard, crafting an effective throwback to the 80's with a wonderful cast who deserve to go far.