The Guest Blu-ray Review
A mysterious man is running down a dirt road. He seems to have a purpose and a mission. He comes to a house and knocks on the door. He says his name is David (Dan Stevens) and tells the middle aged woman (Sheila Kelley) that he knew her dead son and had a message from him. The dead son, Caleb, was killed in Afghanistan. The mother Laura Peterson, father Spencer Peterson (Leland Orser), sister Anna Peterson (Maika Monroe) and brother Luke Peterson (Brendan Meyer) all have been coping with the loss in their own way. David is polite to a fault and delivers his message to each member of the family. David is invited to stay by Laura before he goes to Miami for some work. But something is not exactly right with David. There is a menace behind those eyes. THE GUEST is an intriguing thriller that goes a bit off the tracks in the third act, but still worth checking out.
THE GUEST was directed by Adam Wingard and written by Simon Barrett. They have worked together numerous times in the past including the well received horror movie “You’re Next”. They know what the audience wants and expects out of their thrills. This movie is no exception.
David seems helpful at first. He listens to Spencer’s problems at work and his lack of promotion due to one man. He takes an interest in Luke’s difficulties when he spies a black eye that Luke received at school. The next day David picks up Luke and has him point out his bullies. They follow them to a bar where the football players and their girlfriends get special treatment. This scene builds up perfectly. You know exactly what is about to happen, but you don’t know the mechanics of it. Watching it unfold was akin to watching ballet. It has a certain beauty to it in the violence.
David joins Anna at a party at night. David is an observer who sees everything around him and takes it all in. He notices their weaknesses and what he can exploit. Anna has a fight with her stoner boyfriend. The boyfriend doesn’t have any drive or ambition and he sells pot on the side. David also surveys the scene when Anna’s friend Kristen (Tabatha Shaun) gets into a confrontation with her ex-boyfriend. That is not a good move for that guy.
Dan Stevens is perfect in the role of David. He can show his soft spoken way and quickly morph into a more menacing creature. It is fascinating to watch and he pulls it off quite nicely. David’s violent tendencies do alarm Anna. She does not want her family hurt by this stranger.
I won’t divulge anything further to protect the surprises that come. I will say that the underlying reason for David’s actions could have been explored even further. THE GUEST is one film that gets better as you think about what all happened. You wonder why David is doing some of the things he did and then it comes together like a completed puzzle. The first two acts are the best in my view. The third act gets bogged down in action clichés and a slasher mentality that comes out of the blue and seems so pat. The music used is a definite plus. It creates the right atmosphere. I did chuckle at some of the choices because they seemed lifted out of low budget 80s action films. It is quite obvious that Wingard and Barrett were doing a tip of the cap to the era and it certainly was appreciated by me.
THE GUEST provides enough suspense to sustain your interest. It is too bad that they took the cheap way out in the end.
Video: The film looks real good on the screen. The blazing daylight and twinkling nighttime of New Mexico comes through well.
Audio: The sound was decent. There were times however where I had trouble hearing some of the characters speak.
Deleted Scenes (15:00): Seven scenes in all. They are mainly variations of scenes already in the film. You get more background of the family and the relationship between Anna and her boyfriend. You can also hear commentary from director Adam Wingard and Writer Simon Barrett regarding these scenes.
Q & A with Dan Stevens (2:32): Stevens talks about what drew him to the film and his character.
Feature Commentary with Director Adam Wingard and Writer Simon Barrett: This is a free flowing commentary. They go on long discussions about scenes, the actors, the locations, etc. They also talk about other projects and who they borrowed from.