Wednesday 28 January 2015

The Guest

Directed by Adam Wingard and out now on Blu-Ray and DVD comes The Guest, the latest film from the brilliant minds behind one of 2011 best films; You’re Next. And like You're Next, The Guest is both brilliantly made and cleverly subversive.

The film follows a soldier, named David, who has just released from the Army. He’s played by Dan Stevens who, before this, had only really been known for Downtown Abbey, but he shows how talented he is here, and even manages a damn good Southern American accent. David goes to the house of the Peterson family where he claims to be a friend of the family's recently deceased son, having fought alongside him. David works his way into the family doing jobs for them, and eventually everybody likes him. He beats up the ridiculous movie bullies tormenting the other son, Luke, helps out the daughter Anna and shows her he can smoke pot and drink with the best of them, and everyone starts to think he's just a pretty cool guy. But strange things start happening and suddenly things turn out to not be as simple as they first appeared. Like with You're Next, saying anything else but the basic plot would be spoiling it but there are plenty of unexpected twists and turns along the way. As well as the brilliant plot another strong point the film has is the awesome 80's-esque synth soundtrack, and just like You're Next  you'll find yourself listening to it long after you've watched the film. 

As well as Dan Stevens, who as previously mentioned is totally awesome as David, the other performances are pretty solid too. Another standout performance, especially to fans of The Wire like myself, is Lance Reddick as David's superior officer in the Army; Major Carver. Reddick is suitably bad ass in the role and brings a touch a the familiar to a film is mostly full of up and coming actors. Speaking of which, relative newcomer Maika Monroe, who plays Anna Peterson, also gives a great performance, which is especially difficult as she is the one who has to unwrap the mystery that is David, and if we didn't like her then we might not care about the mystery at the heart of the film. But luckily she's great, and the film doesn't really have a weak link which is helped by the fact that the younger characters are well written and realistic, when they could have been annoying.

The absolute best part of the film though is the action sequences. Anyone who has seen Adam Wingards previous films knows how creative he can be and these scenes in The Guest are no different. The shoot-out at the house is particular highlight, and Wingard directs with such kinetic energy that it makes it impossible to not be swept up into it. You'll find yourself oooh-ing and ahh-ing every time someone's gets shot or blown up; it's awesome. Although some of these scenes featured in the trailers for the film saying too much might be a spoiler, but the film is worth seeing for the climax alone. The tonal shifts in the film might annoy some people but I personally found them original and innovative, and I look forward to what director Adam Wingard and writer Simon Barrett do next.

The Guest is one of the most enjoyable films I've witnessed in a long time. It's clear the film-makers enjoy films and aren't bothered with making high art, they just want to have fun. The films shifts from different genres and frequent twists and turns might annoy some people but those aren't the sort of people this film was made for. If you like surprises, awesome action and watching films that are just pure fun, then The Guest is for you.

The Guest makes itself at home and gets 5/5.


Tom Bumby

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