Director: Adam Wingard
Cast: Dan Stevens, Sheila Kelley, Maika Monroe
Release Date: Own it on Blu-ray Combo Pack & DVD on January 6th
A Review By: Kevin Lovell
Film Rating: 10/10
Disc Rating: 9/10
Recently discharged from the military, David Collins (Dan Stevens) unexpectedly shows up at the Peterson family’s doorstep, claiming to be their late son’s Army buddy. Welcomed into their home, the well-mannered stranger becomes part of the family until a shocking wave of violence raises daughter Anna’s (Maika Monroe) suspicions that the mysterious ex-soldier is not quite what he seems.
‘The Guest’ tells the story of a young stranger named David and the family of a war veteran whose lives clash when David arrives on their doorstep because of a promise he apparently made to their son Caleb prior to his death, the two having trained and served together, in addition to becoming good friends. The family openly invites David into their home and while at first hesitant, they soon come to believe he’s a good individual with an honest interest in their well being and therefore wholly welcome him into their lives. While David continues to help out and build the family’s trust, a series of bizarre fatal accidents seem to be linked with this mysterious stranger’s arrival. Is David really who he claims, merely keeping a promise to a friend and here with nothing but good intentions, or is it all simply a facade to hide a possible ulterior motive? Everything will be revealed one way or another in this phenomenal and beautifully shot film so reminiscent of 80’s cinema.
‘The Guest’ is the latest effort from the incredibly talented filmmaking duo of Adam Wingard and Simon Barrett. As per usual, Adam Wingard directs (plus edits) from a script written by Simon Barrett and the two both do absolutely phenomenal work together once again, delivering what’s surely their best film to date. This gorgeously shot film is also complemented greatly by its exceptional cast, including Dan Stevens (probably best known for his role on Downton Abbey), Lance Reddick (TV’s ‘Fringe’), Sheila Kelley (Matchstick Men)and Leland Orser (Very Bad Things), along with the young Brendan Meyer (TV’s Mr. Young) and Maika Monroe (Labor Day), most all of whom deliver overall solid performances throughout; although Dan Stevens easily steals the show with his portrayal of David.
Beautifully shot, edited and brilliantly executed, ‘The Guest’ brings a wonderfully spot on 80’s vibe in numerous aspects, from the color and the music, down to the overall plot. ‘The Guest’ is absolutely phenomenal in pretty much every possible way and is also easily one of the best films of 2014 in my book. Being a huge fan of Adam Wingard and Simon Barrett’s work overall and enjoying each of their filmmaking efforts from ‘A Horrible Way To Die’ to ‘You’re Next’ it’s no small statement for me to say that this is also without question their best film to date and also very likely my favorite of theirs so far. It manages to so perfectly capture the 80’s era of action films from the absolutely perfect opening title credit, down to the last moments of the film. Every selection used for the music is spot on and Wingard’s unique editing choices compliment the unique feel of the movie just that much more. This is definitely not a film to be missed for anyone who appreciates quality cinema and I give it my highest recommendation.
The Blu-Ray release of ‘The Guest’ features a full 1080p High Definition presentation utilizing the film’s original 2.40:1 Cinemascope Aspect Ratio. The video presentation is sharp, detailed and clear. The bright color’s used so wonderfully and prominently in the film are on gorgeous display here, radiating from the screen and never compromised or harmed by banding or pixilation. Every aspect of this beautifully shot movie looks fantastic here and no significant faults or issues of any kind were noticeable on my end; most folks should be quite satisfied with this high definition video presentation.
The Blu-Ray release features a lossless 5.1 channel DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack which sounds absolutely fantastic and contributes to the overall experience of the film in a huge way. This lossless soundtrack is the perfect complement to the absolutely outstanding soundtrack and score of ‘The Guest’ which is without question one of its most powerful elements. The classic 80’s era score explodes out of all five available channels in the best way possible and the hard bass elements of the soundtrack are never hesitant to hit full force. A number of the more action oriented sequences which allow for bullets and other debris to go whizzing past the viewer also provides the surround channels a pretty fair workout and this lossless soundtrack delivers admirably on all fronts, while also never causing the dialogue to become to distorted or inaudible at any point. This is an impressive 5.1 channel DTS-HD MA soundtrack that definitely gets top marks.
The Blu-Ray release of ‘The Guest’ may not be overloaded with extras, but it does definitely include a few very nice bonus features. Included on the Blu-Ray release is a Feature Commentary track with the talented writer/director duo behind the film, director Adam Wingard and writer Simon Barrett. Also included on the release are a number of Deleted/Alternate/Extended Scenes, a number of which are quite interesting. A few of The Extended/Alternate Scenes additionally include the version of the scene included in the final film for easy comparison which is quite nice. The Deleted Scenes also include optional Commentary. A Q&A with the film’s lead star Dan Stevens is also included and well worth a watch itself.
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