Film: The Guest – A ludicrously fun homage to the 80s
Writer and director duo Simon Barrett and Adam Wingard reteam for an action packed, ludicrously fun synthesised action shooter headlined by the charismatic and creepy Dan Stevens.
As scene bongs from neon filled synesthesia and techno to silence it becomes apparent that the lead in this film in not Dan Sevens’ David nor is it any member of the Peterson family. In actuality, the centerpiece of this film is its soundtrack. Harkening back to old John Carpenter films, Steve Moore’s composition draws rightful comparisons to that of Drive as it beats, reverberates and resonates with all that we love about The Eurythmics, Bowie and Yazoo.
And the throwbacks don’t just stop there. There are numerous callbacks and nods towards previous films by Barrett and Wingard but also a clear and mentioned distinction and affection for John Carpenter. In truth, the feature seems to be perpetually occurring on Halloween – there is a sense of when will it all go wrong? Where’s the tipping point? What is wrong with David?
And a lot of the credit has to go to Dan Stevens. Although he speaks out the side of his mouth, like some sideways Nigel Farage, to achieve his droll American accent, Stevens appears on screen with a twirl, a charisma and a stone cold murderous smile. We can sense a disturbance, an undertone of insanity and we don’t trust that. The family does and they reap the benefits and the deaths as a result.
And completely off topic – I am in love with Maika Monroe. Her performance was not outstanding nor was her character all that polished. But by the end of the movie, I had developed a serious fascination for her but not in a totally creepy Internet keyboard kind of way … seriously.
The main complaint I’ve seen about The Guest is that it crosses the line between fun and outright silliness but once again I have to disagree. I think Barrett and Wingard are smart enough to pay homage to the 80s and stories like Drive, the Bourne franchise, The Terminator and Halloween with their tongues firmly in their cheeks. The ending alone shows that they had fun making the movie and I had a damn good time watching it.
The Guest is a ludicrously fun homage to the 80s and to the films that influenced Wingard and Barrett to do what they love; entertain moviegoers and keep them laughing, smiling and grinning at how cool, how gory and how suspenseful techno sounds can be.
Score – A-