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MOVIE REVIEW: FTN reviews The Guest

September 3rd, 2014 by Irwin Fletcher Comments

The Guest (18)
Directed by: Adam Wingard
Starring: Dan Stevens, Maika Monroe & Ethan Embry
Running time: 99 min

A soldier introduces himself to the Peterson family, claiming to be a friend of their son who died in action. After the young man is welcomed into their home, a series of accidental deaths seem to be connected to his presence.

David (Dan Stevens from Downton Abbey) arrives on the doorstep of The Peterson Family; he’s an ex-soldier who has literally just been discharged and who promised to fulfil the dying wishes of his comrade and friend.

At first The Petersons welcome in David with open arms as his presence brings back memories of their recently deceased son. But soon David’s quiet and helpful nature is chipped away due to a number of occurrences and it’s not long until David’s true past comes to the surface. Will the Peterson’s discover David’s true identity and, more importantly, his past before it’s all too late.

David turns up at the door one day, quiet and easily withdrawn but with a welcoming smile that Mon, Dad, Big Sis and the younger brother simply warm to very quickly. In no time at all David seems to be part of the family, helping each of the family members in his own unique way.

But soon his methods and personality draw the attention of the inquisitive daughter and “a lion is most dangerous when cornered” as they say!

Dan Stevens has certainly removed the niceties of his perhaps most well know character from Downton Abbey to deliver a performance that is simply breath-taking. Whilst it may not be the stuff of awards, it certainly makes the audience jump up and take note.

The Guest is part horror (in its brutal spurts of violence), part campy fun in which the violent moments are interspersed with witty or perhaps cheesy one-liners that the audience can’t help but chuckle at. The premise is a pretty familiar one, but the familiar tale is told with horrific violence (with bone crunching sound effects and blood splattering the screen) that really gives it a fresh appeal. Added to this is the almost duo personality of David; one minute caring and considerate, the next a brutal, violent and destructive person.

Director Adam Wingard (V/H/S 1&2), who is no stranger to the horror genre, seems to have raided his 80s collection, for The Guest does more than just nod to the video nasties of the 80s. The brutal violence onscreen is matched by a magnificent electronic score and 80s obscurities that add more than just character to the film, they really do lift the movie from a standard snore-fest into something else.

The Guest may not have an A-List cast, but what it lacks in star quality it more than makes up for it with blood and synths – A Must Seen.

4 (and a broken bone or two) out of 5 Nerds

I'm an LA journalist who really lives for his profession. I have also published work as Jane Doe in various mags and newspapers across the globe. I normally write articles that can cause trouble but now I write for FTN because Nerds are never angry, so I feel safe.