I wasn’t a fan of Adam Wingard’s last picture You’re Next, but his follow-up The Guest is actually a highly enjoyable slice of psycho-thriller hokum. Yes it’s nothing that hasn’t been done before many times, but The Guest does it rather well.
The bereaved Peterson family are visited by seemingly charming David (Dan Stevens) who claims to have served with their son before he died in action. He slowly insinuates his way into their lives, charming each member of the family in turn. However when teenage daughter Anna (Maika Monroe) begins to suspect David isn’t all he claims to be, she calls the military to check into his story. This provokes an immediate response from army intelligence, led by Carver (Lance Reddick – best known for his roles in TV series The Wire and Fringe), who seems particularly alarmed at the appearance of David in the Peterson household.
This is ludicrous, overblown, clichéd nonsense, but it’s very entertaining ludicrous, overblown, clichéd nonsense. Although anyone with a basic knowledge of the genre will predict almost every plot turn, the stylish direction, well-chosen electronic soundtrack and performances keep this ticking along very nicely. Maika Monroe is particularly worth singling out for praise, and I suspect she is a name to watch. The usual warnings about violence, nudity and bad language apply, and certainly the latter part of the film is something of a bloodbath. But if this is your kind of thing, you could certainly do a lot worse.