Over the weekend, The Guest showed on one of the free to view film channels, it was great to see more people discover this 2014 film from the writer/director team of You’re Next, Adam Wingard and Simon Barrett.
We ourselves only discovered the film when we saw it on Netflix, we hadn’t heard much about it, but having seen You’re Next, a home invasion horror film that had felt original, we were intrigued, especially when it has been pitched as part Bourne Identity and Part Halloween!
The story opens with David (Dan Stevens) a soldier, who is visiting the Petersen family who are mourning the loss of their eldest son, Caleb. David claims to have served in the war with him, and made a promise to look up on the family upon his return.
He quickly wins over Laura, Caleb’s mother (Sheila Kelley) with his stories of the time they served together, he then meets her partner, Spencer (Leland Orser) and they share beers and David learns of his work problems, where he claims to have been overlooked for a promotion.
David next meets Luke (Brendan Meyer) their youngest son. Luke is an intelligent child and a bit of a loner, only having online friends and as such is a target for being bullied at school.
Finally David meets their daughter, Anna (Maika Monroe) when she returns late from work. She is first to think David may not be who he says he is.
We first get an insight into the real David, when he collects Luke from school. He follows the bullies to a local bar and brutally attacks them. What is more concerning is David, when taken to a party with Anna, asks her friend Craig (Joel David Moore) for a gun.
Anna, after hearing David on the phone, she contacts the military base to ask about him and is told he was killed a week ago.
With people dying around her, such as the mysterious deaths of the employer who stopped Spencer getting his work promotion and news that her boyfriend, Zeke (Chase Williamson) is arrested for the murder of Craig and his gun-selling friend, both killed by David, it is clear to Anna something is not quite right.
The Military have made David into a form of super soldier who has escaped. They send Major Carver (Lance Reddick) to bring him back.
Carver reveals that David is ‘Programmed to Kill’ anyone who might compromise his identity, setting up an ending where no one is safe, especially the Petersen family who invited him in as The Guest!
This film is a great homage to earlier action flicks of the Eighties/Nineties with a heavy synth score from Steve Moore (who has a cameo at the party, where he where’s a Fox mask from You’re Next!) that will remind you of the other nostalgia themed Drive and cult classic John Carpenter‘s Halloween III: Season of the Witch score (you can also see the masks from the film as projected wall decorations in the film’s end sequence!)
Maika has gone on to great success with It Follows and most recently Independence Day: Resurgence. Brendan is now a series regular on Fear The Walking Dead.
It’s Writer/Director team went onto make this year’s reboot of The Blair Witch Project, the simply titled Blair Witch, but the real revelation of the film is Dan Stevens in the title role!
We were only aware of Dan for his role as Matthew Crawley in Mrs BMAF TV fav Downton Abbey, but he is transformed having worked with trainers to put on 25 pounds of muscle for the role.
He has the charm to see why he was invited to stay as a guest but in the action sequences, he is also well cast in the action hero type role!
He has followed this with some smaller comedy roles in such films as Adam Sandler’s The Cobbler, but his leading man status is now confirmed when he will next be seen opposite Anne Hathaway in creature feature Colossal and next year’s we will see him as the Beast that is Prince Adam, opposite Emma Watson in Disney‘s live action version of their animated classic Beauty and the Beast!
We would love to know more about the secret program David was in, but sadly like You’re Next, the film did not make the numbers at the box office so a pequel/sequel to The Guest seems unlikely, but we still feel this cult classic deserves to be seen by more !
You can see the film’s trailer at the website here:
You can find the film at Amazon here:
Have you seen The Guest! Did you like it or do you think it was a dated film that belonged back in the Eighties, which some viewers have said? We would love to hear from you at Barking Mad About Films
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