The Guest is a throwback thriller directed by Adam Wingard who has previously brought You're Next to the screen as well as segments of the V/H/S franchise. The movie features the acting talents of Dan Stevens, Maika Monroe, Brendan Meyer, Sheila Kelley, Leland Orser, and Lance Reddick.
A former soldier named David (Stevens) heads to a small town to meet up with the family of his friend who was killed in action while they were overseas. When the family discovers he has nowhere to go and no plan for what to do next, they invite him to stay for a while until he figures out a plan. After hesitantly agreeing to stay, David begins helping the family and getting to know his new surroundings. Things take a very interesting turn for David when his friend's sister Anna (Monroe) begins to suspect he may not be who he says he is. Meanwhile, Major Carver (Reddick), the leader of a covert military operation David used to belong to, takes an interest in his whereabouts in an effort to protect some very high level secrets.
This is one of those movies that I walked in to without really having any idea, other than seeing the trailer, of what I was about to see. Fortunately, it turned out to be one of the most unexpectedly fun movie going experiences I have had in quite some time. Adam Wingard is better known for putting together some seriously scary cinema sequences, but The Guest is more of a campy homage to late 70's/early 80's grind house style movies. Everything about this film; the look, the feel, the music, the style, all screams VHS bargain bin and late night cable TV viewing, but in the best and coolest ways possible. The topper is the brilliant job turned in by Dan Stevens in bringing to life a character in David that keeps you constantly guessing about who he is and what his real motivations are all while always being the coolest person in the room at all times.
I'm sure there will be a fair amount of people who will want to pick apart this movie's flaws although, in my opinion, that would really be a waste of everyone's time. The Guest is not the type of movie that is trying to impress you with subtlety and nuance. It pretty much grabs you by the hand and dares you to walk down a precarious path filled with a ton of really cool characters, fun twists and turns, and will most likely leave you sitting there at the end wondering what just happened. Oh, and I mean that in a good way. Go see this movie!