Review: The Guest, a stylish bullet-flying shitstorm of awesome

You’re Next’s tandem—Adam Wingard and Simon Barrett—have delivered one of the year’s best films in The Guest, a stylish pulse-pounding thriller that goes completely off the rails in brilliant bullet-flying fashion. In The Guest, a soldier introduces himself to the Peterson family, claiming to be a friend of their son who died in action. After the young man is welcomed into their home, a series of accidental deaths seem to be connected to his presence.

Practically genre-defying, The Guest is such a unique monster of a film that once Wingard starts to pull back its layers, you’ll discover that there’s something entirely different hiding under all of that skin. And that’s what makes this film so good, is that the further it moves along, the crazier it gets. And even through its darkest moments and unnerving intensity, Wingard and Barrett somehow found a way to inject a little bit of humor into it.

The impossibly hard to figure out David (Dan Stevens), is such a complex character, one that you’re forced to trust despite the dark cloud that hangs over his head. And I think that’s where Wingard really digs his claws in because he uses David as a device to keep us all on edge; it’s what makes the rest of the film’s characters so valuable, too. There’s the youngest brother, lost in a sea of high school bullying who sees David as a friend at a time when he needs one more than ever. The way that he looks up to David is the perfect contrast to how his sister, Anna (Maika Monroe), feels about their mysterious guest. Anna is immediately skeptical about David, asking all the same questions that we have running through our heads. Who is he? Why is he here? What’s his secret?

And this is how we’re hooked into Wingard’s psycho-thriller, because David gives us a reason to stay along for the ride, even when it starts to get a little nuts. Once The Guest starts to unravel and we begin to see its true colors, its go big or go home attitude delivers a bold as hell finish, one that will leave you begging for more.

But perhaps the film’s biggest achievement, beyond its career-defining performance from Dan Stevens and smart action beats, is how Wingard infuses a brilliant use of music that drips with atmosphere as its silky smooth beats and 80s heavy pulse ticks alongside the film seamlessly. For my money, there was no better soundtrack this year that captured the mood and tone of a movie so perfectly.

Is it even possible to make a slasher movie with guns and grenades? Because that’s what The Guest is; equal parts psycho-slasher and action-thriller, this is the kind of movie that genre fans are going to eat up. With a batshit, insanity-fueled finale, The Guest is a transfixing slice of B-movie gold.

4.5/5

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If you are ever attacked by a gorilla just sit back and relax while you enjoy the once in a life time feeling of your limbs being ripped off.

24 thoughts on “Review: The Guest, a stylish bullet-flying shitstorm of awesome

  1. I just came across this one online and added to the queue. I may have to bump it up in the rotation now. I will try to watch this weekend. I skipped your review for the time being, but will revisit after watching. You know I like to go into my movies as cold as possible. 🙂 TTYS.

      1. Okay, just finished it, so came back to read your review. I agree w/ most of your review, except the part about this has captured the mood perhaps better than any other film this year; that would go to “Starry Eyes”. 🙂

        I liked this one, though. Even though you had some kind of idea what was going to happen, it was still unpredictable. I liked the way the film didn’t waste time getting started. No need for drawn-out introductions to the characters; this one introduced us to the characters, while moving the story along. I think Wingard & Barrett have another winner in the same vein as “You’re Next”. Great recommendation and review.

      2. Thanks, Gary! Starry Eyes had another fantastic soundtrack, no doubt about it.

        Yeah, I liked that they didn’t draw out the beginning any more than it had to be. Gave them more time to deliver that batshit final act. I actually like this one more than You’re Next, but both are fantastic.

      3. Really? More than “You’re Next”? I’d probably prefer You’re Next just by a tad; both are about equal. So, I am trying to watch a couple more movies to close 2014. I have a few on my queue. I am thinking I may try “Eat” next. Know anything about it?

  2. This sounds like one wild ride. I love it when movies commit to the “go big or go home attitude” that you described.

    Also, I agree with the first commenter re: blog title. There’s no way someone’s NOT going to read this post after a title like that.

  3. I just saw this and loved it! I had absolutely had no idea where this movie was going from the get go! And how awesome was the second half?! I also enjoyed how stylish it was (the soundtrack and visuals)! Great performances, especially from Dan Stevens, I am going to have to keep an eye on that one! I would recommend this film to others!

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