’31 Days of Horror’ Review – The Guest (2014)

by Nile Fortner

Terminator Meets Halloween in ‘The Guest’!

Returning from combat operations in Afghanistan, soldier David, visits the family of a dead comrade, and is invited to stay. However, is David everything he claims to be?  So what’s next for the makers of the film ‘You’re Next’? Some fans might expect another horror film from Adam Wingard and screenwriter Simon Barrett. I believe we get more than just another horror film. Imagine if John Carpenter’s ‘Halloween’, ‘The Terminator’, ‘You’re Next’, and ‘Drive’ all found a way to mix up into one bad-ass, bold, and a blast of a movie. We would get 2014’s The Guest!

The plot of the film is, Spencer, played by Leland Orser (The ‘Taken’ Trilogy) and Laura Peterson, played by Sheila Kelley (Pure Luck) with their children Luke, played by Brendan Meyer (‘Tooth Fairy’) and Anna, played by Maika Monroe ‘(It Follows ‘and ‘Independence Day: Resurgence’) are coping up with the loss of their eldest son, Caleb, to the war in Afghanistan. They are visited by David Collins, played by Dan Stevens (‘A Walk Among the Tombstones’ and the  live action ‘Beauty and the Beast’) who claims to be a former soldier and Caleb’s best friend. He announces to the family his reason of visit; to help Caleb take care of the family. David is polite, warm and friendly toward the family, and Laura offers to let him stay as long as he needs to. But as time goes on, Anna becomes suspicious of David. Is David really a friend of the family? Is he really who he says he is? Only time, tears, and bloodshed will tell.

This is a movie that when it first came out, I hardly knew about it. I didn’t see trailers, TV spots, or interviews. I just knew it came from the directors of ‘You’re Next’ and they casted who I think is a future scream queen, Maika Monroe. I’m just going to dive straight into this and say I really enjoyed this movie. I actually think this is better than their previous film ‘You’re Next.’

One of my complaints with ‘You’re Next’ was the acting wasn’t professionally done. You can sense the unhappiness, and tension in the Peterson household from the first scene. Dan Stevens has been great in every project he has been in so far. In the beginning, he really does come off like a polite, well-spoken, mannered, all American, handsome good boy war veteran. As the film goes on, he becomes literally like ‘The Terminator’. He becomes cold, lifeless, angry, and strange.

Maika Monroe does an amazing job as well. Not only is she sizzling with all kinds of sexy, and badassery, but she delivers a character we can really get behind. At first, I thought her character was a typical teenager. Meaning, she acts like she knows so much more than everyone else (not all teens act like this). However, we really do start to see things from her way. In my opinion, this should have been the breakout role for Maika Monroe, not ‘It Follows’. I know I’m not in the majority, but I’m one of the few people who think ‘It Follows” could have been far more superior. I would love to see Monroe in more horror films and films in general. She has a great future in the acting world and Hollywood right in front of her.

Accordingly, much like ‘You’re Next,’ this film has various stylistic choices, and Adam Wingard respects all the stylistic choices. Mainly with the editing and score. It is a great throwback to the 70’s and 80’s and hardcore film fans will really appreciate how the score is utilized. 

My favorite scene in the entire movie would be towards the end at the Halloween school party. That made the film actually feel like Halloween, and I find that scene to be the most “fun” throughout the movie. A terrific throwback to the 70’s and 80’s grind-house and 80’s direct to video movies. It was a surprise hit, and I believe it is one of the biggest hits of 2014. We don’t get to many films like this, and I’m glad we got one that is this well done. This is more than just a great film to watch on Halloween, but a great film to see any time of the year. It’s timeless with terror, timeless with a great score, and timeless in fun. 

I am giving The Guest a 5 out of 5 Hairpieces!


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