The Movie: 7.5/10
Before I tell you about this movie, let me clue you in on something, I was a 70’s – 80’s kid…yes, there I said it. I was raised up on late night HBO watching Halloween and Friday the 13th many many many times. I watched the Exorcist for the first time when I was just about 13, alone, in the dark, on a stormy night. My teenage friends and I watched eyes wide open as Children of the Corn played out in front of us like a horrible terrible incredibly stimulating link to our future adult selves who would be able to process it all someday (and realize it’s a crappy movie). The music, the pacing, the gore, the ideas, the cheap thrills, it all reminds me of The Guest.
I won’t say it’s has the same impact to me now as those old flicks were back in the day, but I can imagine that if you are young and impressionable and this was one of your first thriller type movies it would put some zing in your watching experience. The whole of it really does hint at those glory days of the newness of that weird horror type tension mixed with ordinary young people struggling against a formidable almost unbeatable foe. Yes, I analyze things.
The Guest brings us a family with troubles, of course. There is an empty spot in their lives and a pleasant stranger comes to slot in like a long-lost puzzle piece. He’s charming and handsome and understanding and gives them a boost of energy, at first. I am not going to spoil things, and you can think you know what’s going to happen in the first 3 minutes, but you will probably be wrong. You have to take your brain back to those late nights watching HBO to get a glimpse of the movies we weren’t supposed to be watching. Remember the thrill of it? Watch The Guest like that, as if you have lost the last 30 years of maturing and becoming jaded, just be that shit-scared kid who can truly imagine someone terrorizing your family, but in a kind of cheesy way with weird Halloween props and groovy dance music.
The cast is all OK. I will be honest, no one does a consistently good job except for the 20-year-old daughter. She’s funny and tough and doesn’t over do her fear. The parents are completely inept parents so if that was the goal the actors were great. I felt very very let down by them both and felt bad for their kids just because of their shitty parenting skills. The leading man is kind of boring to me. He’s cute, yes. He can seem super creepy, his best trait by far, yes, but he’s bland and even though you might not know what’s going to happen, he seems utterly predictable as a performer. I know my husband will give me crap for this, he really liked the guy, but I can’t help it. He didn’t turn my crank.
Overall I did enjoy the movie. It’s old school style and good music gave me a fun afternoon at the pictures.
- Deleted Scenes (15 Minutes) – With or without directors commentary these deleted scenes are quite interesting, the movie is very tightly paced and it’s cool to see how these longer shots would have ruined that.
- Q&A With Dan Stephens (2 Minutes) – A very short EPK style interview with the lead actor, fun but way to short.
- Feature Commentary With Director Adam Wingard & Writer Simon Barrett – A highly unorganized commentary track but if you are a fan of the film it is full of nuggets of information that are not to be missed.
- DVD & UV Digital Copy
Cover Art and Menus: 6/10
It almost gets my attention, but almost doesn’t. I get it, it’s kind of grindhousey and nostalgic of something from the past. I wouldn’t have it as a poster, but I don’t mind it as a cover. The menu is just navigation.
Audio & Video: 8/10
The Guest hits Blu-Ray with an AVC 2.40:1 aspect ratio transfer that is hard to find fault with. The film has 2 distinct styles the neon lit dark shots and the conventional daytime shots near the start of the film. The transfer here handles both sides respectfully with deep contrast, inky blacks and a very lively color palette. Video presentation here is much higher than what you expect for a lower budget movie like The Guest.
My nickname for this movie “Downton Stabby” also describes the films amazing soundtrack, those 80’s synths literally stab you in the nostalgia center of your brain and bring you back to a simpler time when VHS was king. The 5.1 English DTS-HD MA surround track is simply a delight with excellent use of the surround channels in the closing scenes of the film. Dialog is very clear and always in the center speaker, you will not miss anything David is saying here.
Overall Score 7.5/10