December 10, 2014

Blu-ray Review: The Guest (2014)

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2980592/
(aka WAY Better Than You're Next.)
Release Date: December 16th.
Country: USA.
Rating: R.
Written by: Simon Barrett.
Directed by: Adam Wingard.
Starring: Dan Stevens, Maika Monroe, Brendan Meyer, Sheila Kelley, Leland Orser, and the awesomeness of Lance Reddick.

Adam Wingard & Simon Barrett have been teaming up to give us solid genre offerings since 2010 with movies like A Horrible Way to Die (Review), V/H/S 1 (Rreview) & 2 (Review), The ABCs of Death (Review), and You're Next, to varying degrees of quality.


Their latest collabo, The Guest, is the movie that we expected You're Next (Review) to be; where we found You're Next to be underwhelming, we found The Guest to be next-level in both concept and execution. It more than lived up to the hype that has surrounded it since it made the rounds on the festival circuit.

*This review is going to contain a few SPOILERS, so be sure to skip the appropriately-marked sections to remain spoiler-free.

The Peterson family are still mourning the loss of their eldest son (Caleb) who died in the War in Afghanistan, when one of his best Marine buddies (David) shows up on their doorstep, because "Caleb asked him to." In all fairness, that actually seems like a pretty legit thing for a Soldier to do for his fallen comrade, although we as an audience know that something creepy is afoot.

LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, MEET "SOMETHING CREEPY."
David is a nice boy who goes out of his way to help the Peterson family with their issues: He teaches son Luke how to stand up to bullies; he helps daughter Anna with her relationship problems; he helps Dad get a promotion at work; and he teaches Mom how to make a mean banana bread. He's a godsend to the clan, and they quickly accept him as part of the family... which again isn't all that odd, considering the circumstances, but man that was quick.

PRETTY SURE MOM IS ABOUT TO GO FULL COUGAR ON DAVID.
Of course all of that acceptance is premature (because they have no clue that David is a psychopath who kills indiscriminately), and it's not long before they, and everyone around them, find themselves in mortal danger. Not Anna though. She made him a Mix Tape. They're cool.

WHO WOULDN'T LOVE A MIX TAPE FROM DJ QT PIE?
We won't spoil anything else for you here, because, just watch the movie, but "Who is David, and what does he want?" is the question, and "A dangerous psychopath who wants to kill!" is the answer. Kinda. He really just wants to be free to live his life, you know?

NEVER PISS OFF A VETERAN. THEY HAVE GRENADES.
The Guest is a rare movie that barely misses a beat from start to finish. It's clever, moody, dark, violent, and most of all, a hell of a lot of fun. Everything about this movie just clicked for us. We enjoyed it so much, that we're even thinking about buying the Soundtrack, because even the music was perfect in this one.

The thing that makes The Guest so great is that it plays with expectations; we basically know what kind of story we're getting here, but the way that it unfolds is both conventional and unconventional at the same time. Throughout most of the movie, we get the creeping feeling that David may be a really bad guy who is up to no good, but we couldn't help but love him and admire the way that he genuinely went out of his way to protect his "adoptive" family.

A lot of people seem to be unhappy with the over-the-top direction that the film takes in the third act. We can see their point, and we wish that certain plot elements had played out differently towards the end as well, but we still loved the way it all went down, perfect or not.

Dan Stevens was phenomenal as David, and any doubts that we had about the potential movie career that caused him to leave Downton Abbey a bit prematurely, have been erased by his performance here. As charming as he was playing a British AristocratStevens plays dark and dangerous even better, and we can't wait to see what's next on his Genre agenda.

The rest of the cast was great as well, and especially Maika Monroe; the girl is on a roll this year, starring in not only The Guest, but in the lead role of another hugely praised Genre flick, It Follows. She may be relatively new on the Horror scene, but if 2014 was any indication, she's destined for big things.

OH SHIT, MATTHEW CRAWLEY IS PISSED OFF!
***SPOILERS*** What was the deal with Caleb? Was he a part of the same experiments that David was? Did the Government kill him too? What was the experiment to begin with? Why is Lance Reddick always so damned intimidating?!?

We need answers. Definitive ones!

LANCE REDDICK HAS THE ANSWERS, BUT HE WON'T SHARE.
***SPOILERS*** We really wish that at the end, David had kept on being a protector of the family, instead of killing/trying to kill them all. The whole "he was programmed to clean up his messes" explanation as to why he turned on them, kinda killed the awesomeness of his protective acts throughout the first half of the film. It was still great stuff, but we liked him best when he was Cool David.

HE IS A BAD GUEST.
Lots of people get shot and stabbed in this one, most of it coming towards the end.

SHE OBVIOUSLY FAILED THE RE-FILL TEST.
There's no nudity in this one, but the ladies will most likely dig seeing a freshly-showered Dan Stevens standing around in just a towel. Maika Monroe sure seemed to...

HE'S ABOUT TO LAUNCH HIS MEAT MISSILE AT HER VAG-GHANISTAN... AND SHE'S ABOUT TO LET HIM.
Adam Wingard and Simon Barrett know their shit. Also, Dan Stevens was smart to have left Downton Abbey.

ALSO, MAIKA MONROE IS THE HOTNESS.
The Guest is a movie that does just about everything right, and it stands as one of the best that we've seen in 2014, in any Genre. Come the end of the year, there's no doubt that it will top many people's Best Of lists, and that will most likely include ours. When it hits VOD on December 16th, you really owe it to yourself to see it, although you really can't go wrong blind-buying it on Blu-ray either.

A

The Guest will be available on VOD on December 16th, and on Blu-ray & DVD on January 6th.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00NO834N0/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B00NO834N0&linkCode=as2&tag=thehorclu0a-20&linkId=HAR2OSHDMK3Y26WC

Maika Monroe can be our guest anytime. So can Sheila Kelley, with her 90's-hot self.

8 comments :

  1. Entirely agree. This movie was a delightful surprise as I wasn't expecting much. I generally don't like pretty boys but Stevens was superb in a role that could have been either overplayed for parody or underplayed for boredom - he was note perfect. Ms Monroe first struck me as an annoying teenager but when she sees the gun lying in a pool of blood; she knows what to do - unlike so many females who do turn out to be annoying in these sort of films. I also liked the two siblings' detective work. The last scene with Mom shocked me and the two guys I saw this with, (both ex-Marines), - was not expecting it. The action scenes were superbly staged though the last bit I thought a little far fetched. Like you I wish the background of the experiment had been more detailed - was he a psycho from the start or did the experiment make him one and was the brother a part of it. The military has used soldiers before in dangerous medical experiments. Sigh - great to see an American action film that gets it right.

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  2. The last bit was a bit far-fetched, but like you, we still enjoyed it overall.

    Great movies, despite its "flaws."

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  3. Loved this one and I absolutely agree with your review as usual. The soundtrack fits perfectly and the cinematography has some really cool shots in some parts. I was really not expecting such a over the top third act, but I found it fresh and shocking. I as well would have preferred a "protector" David, but the last act had some "slasher" vibe to it that really fitted the movie, specially the ending. I only comment from time to time but I always read your reviews, you guys are great!

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  4. Thanks Liquid!

    And yeah, that "slasher" vibe was really great.

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  5. The version I saw did have nudity. The daughter's friend Kristen gets it on with David while topless.

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  6. This movie was awful and unbelievable. Dan Stevens is great on Downton Abbey but couldn't act his way out of a paper sack in this super stupid movie. Most of the reviews on solar commented on how hot he looked not on any good or even decent acting going on. This must be a guy flick, blood, guts and blowing up stuff because it had no substance and was not something even resembling a storyline that could take the viewer along. Guess gamers love this kill everything stuff even when its impossible and totally stupid ass.

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  7. Almost forgot! While I hated your pick of this movie as the BEST??? of 2014, I have to give you Kudos on building one of the best horror movie sites. So much info, trivia, pictures and I love "The Master" pic you used to score movies. Is that the old Salem's Lot Vampire?? Great Site. Despite my wanting my wasted time watching "The Guest" added back to my life. I am more than happy to spend time looking through this interesting and well put together site. Five Masters for you!

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  8. Thank you for the kind words, Anon. We try like hell to build a fun, informative, well-rounded site, and it's great to know that it's exactly that for some people.

    That is the Salem's Lot Vampire, aka The Master, aka Barlow. When I first started this site, he was nothing more than an avatar for my Blogger profile, but somehow I must have slid him into the site banner and thought "that looks cool." 8 years later, he's basically our mascot, I supppose. We love him.

    Just pretend The Guest never happened, and everything will be alright :)

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