Every once in a while a movie will come along that combines and distills down everything I love in movies. Violence, action, synthwave soundtrack, neon lighting, 1980s movie cliches. All that shit. The Guest is one of those movies.
Adam Wingard directed this absolute classic masterclass long before he was handed the reins to Godzilla. Being the cultured man that he is, he mashed into it every tribute to 80s action and horror that he could. Down to the final girl’s Sara Conner-looking waitress uniform.
The Guest is a horror movie that plays on the ” outsider”. An old war buddy shows up at the house of the family of his dead best friend, killed in the war… supposedly. He befriends the family and wins over the parents. Even the super uptight daughter starts to like him as he helps her little brother be more confident and stand up for himself. He wins over her friends and seems like a real cool guy. But something doesn’t sit right with her about him.
It doesn’t take long for us to see the problem. David has been MK Ultra’d pretty damned hard by the .GOV and is on the run from them. As much as he really does want to help the family of his dead friend, who was also in the program, he can’t break his programming.
Once the daughter starts to figure out that he isn’t who he says he is, things go sideways pretty fast for the entire town. The amusing part of the film is that even as he kills off character after character, David is just so damned likeable!
I had never heard of Dan Stevens until The Guest. He does a damned good job. There was talk of him being the new Snake Plisken in a remake of Escape From NY and after this movie, I would have been all for that if such an abomination were ever to be shit out by the shit factory.
Simon Barrett, who previously collaborated with Adam Wingard on the films A Horrible Way to Die and You’re Next, wrote the script for The Guest. Barrett said:
“One of the things that excites me the most is to have established a pre-existing dynamic like a nuclear family, then introduce an element that’s disruptive […] I love just movies where a stranger comes to town High Plains Drifter-style.”
According to reports, the rough cut of The Guest was about 20 minutes longer than the theatrical version. The rough cut was screened to a test audience, but viewers responded negatively, which resulted in the shortening of the runtime. That audience must have been insane, or stupid.
This is now a well-deserved cult classic and if you haven’t seen it, you should do everything in your power to change that this Halloween.
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