The Guest - Review

Dan Stevens in 'The Guest'.
Dan Stevens in 'The Guest'.

There’s something truly poetic about watching bullies get their comeuppance.

You would think that at the age of 32 that my likes and dislikes would be a little bit more refined but they’re not.

Maika Monroe in The Guest

Maika Monroe in The Guest

One of my favourite themes in cinema is revenge. I just can’t get enough of watching the long suffering browbeaten victims put tyrannical teens in their place.

About 30 minutes into ‘The Guest’ there’s a scene that will almost certainly satisfy anyone who shares my primitive want for all bullies to be made irrelevant and silenced.

As I sat and watched Dan Stevens’ ‘David’ beat seven bells out of a gang of bullies, I thought this is going to be very, very satisfying indeed. However, what followed was most certainly not what I expected.

To say ‘The Guest’ surprised me would be an understatement. But as we all know, some surprises can turn out to be truly memorable.

No sooner had I convinced myself that I was watching a psychological thriller and ‘The Guest’ started to morph into a horror/slasher with 1980s B movie connotations.

My jaw had well and truly dropped and I couldn’t help but be impressed by one of the most unique movies of the year.

It’s not a flawless film by any stretch of the imagination but with its plot, soundtrack and performances, ‘The Guest’ will make you kiss your comfort zone goodbye.

‘The Guest’ sees former soldier, ‘David’ (Ben Stevens - ‘Downton Abbey) turn up at the home of the Petersons.

‘David’, claims to be a friend of the Peterson’s dead son, Caleb, who lost his life while fighting for his country, we are told.

‘David’ tells the family that it was their son’s dying wish that he look out for the family and soon after his arrival people start succumbing to grisly deaths.

Suspicions abound over ‘David’s’ real identity and as the truth begins to emerge, people resort to desperate measures.

Director Adam Wingard and writer Simon Barett have worked together on several projects before ‘The Guest’ and it shows.

The writing and the direction is seamless and despite its constant meandering between genres it flows effortlessly.

Dan Stevens, who up until recently, was more at home on the set of ITV period drama, ‘Downton Abbey’ is fantastic as the lead character, ‘David’.

Wingard and Barett make no attempt to hide the ambiguity surrounding ‘David’ and whilst I was instantly suspicious of his intentions, I actually quite liked the character.

Stevens is remarkable. Not only does he tick the heartthrob box but he can act. He’s menacing, funny and scheming when he needs to be and never once threatens to overshadow the sense of mystery witnessed throughout.

‘The Guest’ also provides the platform for relative newcomers Maika Monroe and Brendan Meyer to impress on the big screen.

Monroe plays Anna Peterson, who despite finding ‘David’ almost irresistibly attractive, manages find out that he is not all what he claims to be.

Monroe is terrific and after this performance it is almost certain that she will go on to be a name that we become much more familiar with in the future.

Meyer takes on the role of loner Luke Peterson who ‘David’ helps out when he learns that Luke is being bullied at school. Meyer puts in a sound performance and brings a perfect measure of pathetic to the part.

There are also impressive performances from Sheila Kelley and Leland Orser who play the parents of Anna and Luke.

‘The Guest’ possess one of the year’s best soundtracks. I found it reminiscent of the music from ‘Drive’ and the way in which the music is worked into the final scene is tremendous.

‘The Guest’ is currently showing at the Brunswick Moviebowl; for full cinema listings visit www.brunswickmoviebowl.com or telephone 02871 371 999.

VERDICT: 4/5 - It’s not a flawless film by any stretch of the imagination but with its plot, soundtrack and performances, ‘The Guest’ will make you kiss your comfort zone goodbye. Director Adam Wingard and writer Simon Barett have worked together on several projects before ‘The Guest’ and it shows. The writing and the direction is seamless and despite its constant meandering between genres it flows effortlessly. Stevens is remarkable. Not only does he tick the heartthrob box but he can act. He’s menacing, funny and scheming when he needs to be.