There are a lot of things about The Guest that really had me scratching my head. Don’t get me wrong, I love to be scared and when I saw this film was from the same team that did You’re Next, my eyebrow raised (but only one). Generally when I receive a movie I haven’t heard of, I’ll do a little research on it before putting it in the player. It didn’t take long to see that this film has been almost universally critically-priased. Ok, that’s good. I remember an interview with film critic Richard Roeper in which he was explaining what it is he actually did. He replied with “…we want every movie we see to be good. I want to be entertained, scared, mad and so forth…” And that’s how I feel as well. I see a movie that’s critically-praised and I assume that it’s for a good reason. So glancing at some reviews, looking at the box and then physically putting the disc into the player – I was ready. Ok, let’s do this.
A mysterious stranger knocks at the door. Laura (Sheila Kelley) answers it. His name is David (Dan Stevens) and he was a friend of her son, Caleb. David seems a kind and gentle soul, so it’s without hesitation that he’s invited inside. He meets Caleb’s brother, Luke (Brendan Meyer), sister, Anna (Maika Monroe) and father (Leland Orser). Each have dealt with Caleb’s death in a different way. Anna with drugs and alcohol, Luke is bullied at school and Laura sulks around the house. However David’s presence is immediately felt. Things start to happen, people start, well, dying and no one can figure out why. As we see more and more what makes David tick, it’s clear that he’s not the person he says he is. But…who is he and what does he really want?
You see…that’s the question I was asking myself. Why? We’ve all seen movies in which a seemingly nice stranger enters a household, ingratiates himself with the family and then things start to happen. The Guest is no different in many regards. Granted there is a twist that I won’t give away, but this is nothing really new. David is played with near robotic precision somewhere between Ryan Gosling’s character in Drive and Arnold Schwarzenegger’s T-1000 from The Terminator. And, hell, the guy is the spitting image of Paul Walker. Scary. While not a bad movie in the least, again I really enjoyed You’re Next, I just found it a bit tired and predictable. Then again the Rotten Tomatoes rating might alter your perception. I’d give it a rental before taking the plunge.
Video: How’s it look?
The film takes place somewhere in the Southwest and, as such, we’re treated to a vast expanse in some scenes. Certainly the 2.40:1 AVC HD image is well-suited for giving us some breathtaking scenes, but there are some in which it feels cramped and compressed. The overall image quality seems to be on par with a new to Blu-ray film, but I caught a few instances in which some grain was prevalent along with a tiny bit of movement in some of the shadows. Flesh tones seem warm and natural, detail is spot on and I think that audiences will have no problem with the way this looks.
Audio: How’s it sound?
Ok, now I have to give credit where its due – this is a pretty amazing soundtrack. To say this was influenced by the 80’s is the understatement of the year. This IS an 80’s soundtrack, complete with some songs I haven’t heard in quite some time. I’m reminded of some films that had a Tangerine Dream soundtrack with the vibrant pulsing going on and on. It gives the movie a very unique look and feel, though I think they might have gone a tad bit overboard here. Still, it’s a very robust track complete with some machine gun fire at the end as well as some explosions thrown in for good measure. This delivers.
Supplements: What are the extras?
While not bursting at the seams with supplements, The Guest has enough to warrant a purchase if you’re a fan.
Audio Commentary – Director Adam Winged and writer Simon Barrett combine for a pretty informative track. We can see how many of the action sequences were choreographed with the score in mind, some of the casting choices and shooting locales. It’s a decent commentary, for sure.
Q&A with Dan Stevens – This short segment features Dan Stevens (of TV’s Downton Abbey) as to what led him to the role, his preparation for it and playing so opposite his character on television.
Deleted Scenes – About a dozen in all that can be played with or without commentary, though after watching them it’s clear as to why they were cut.