Movie Review: The Guest

The first five minutes of The Guest almost feel like a horror movie, with suspenseful music and abrupt scene changes, which made me a little nervous since I don't generally enjoy horror films. It ended up being a crazy, albeit sometimes cheesy, ride, and it's a film that is sure to entertain.

David (Dan Stevens) shows up at the Peterson's house one day, and introduces himself to Mrs. Peterson (Sheila Kelley), saying he served with her (now deceased) son in the war, and actually was with him when he died. He's welcomed into the house, and when it's revealed to Mr. Peterson (Leland Orser) that David doesn't know where he is headed next, he's invited to stay with them for a few days. He's a handsome guy and makes friends easily, but something seems a bit off to him to Anna Peterson (Maika Monroe), the daughter, and she calls the army to verify he is who he says he is. That spurs into motion a series of events which doesn't sit well with David, and in fact triggers something within him that will have consequences later.

If it weren't for the clothing and the smartphones being utilized in the movie, I would have pegged it as a 1980s film based on the soundtrack. Anna makes David a mix CD, and also likes listening to very synth-y, '80s-style music, which is used as background for the film. The movie is also very cheesy in parts - the audience at the screening I went to was laughing at some of the lines, as was I - but the cheesiness somehow works for the film.

Yes, see this movie. It's not going to win any Oscars, but it's creepy as hell, and does what a movie should do: it entertains. I'd recommend seeing this film at a matinee rather than pay full-price, but it's still a fun ride, though I wish we got more answers in the end about who "David" actually is and how he ended up at the Peterson's front doorstep. The ending is also left open for a sequel, so it will be interesting to see if one is produced, though I'm thinking that this is more of a standalone film overall.

The Guest is in theaters today, September 17th, and is rated R with a runtime of 99 minutes. 3.5 stars out of 5.

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