View Full Version : The Guest (Adam Wingard)

Henry Gale
09-26-2014, 02:37 AM

IMDb (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2980592/) / Wiki (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Guest_%28film%29) / Letterboxd (http://letterboxd.com/film/the-guest-2014/)

Henry Gale
09-26-2014, 03:15 AM
Pure B-Movie bliss.

The whole thing is done with so much assured homage-filled polish and such a strong arsenal of fabulous subversions of low-fi '80s thriller conventions that there are very few stretches that it doesn't give you something to be completely in awe of simply aesthetically. Then you also get everything else going on in it, with so much gorgeously crafted tension to boot. It knows exactly what it is, and wouldn't be caught dead playing it anything but completely straight.

I went in knowing nothing but fragments of its summary, seeing one or two production photos (particularly that striking one of Stevens soaked in red light), and whatever people in line roughly explained it as being about to one another. I saw no trailers, had no preconceptions of what Wingard might bring to it since I never saw You're Next or any of his recent horror anthology contributions, but I'm simultaneously amazed by it as a film and kinda disappointed that it took consistent movie-blog coverage, some festival buzz and extremely strong review-aggregate numbers to convince me to see it, since I couldn't tell you one piece of traditional marketing that I saw to do a similar job.

Hopefully this gets rolled out properly, since it absolutely deserves as big a release as possible with the right markets and genre crowds in mind. I can't imagine it being as culturally potent or commercially viable as whatever other Halloween releases, but it's basically the perfect one, and not just because it's set then. This could very well be this year's Drive, and not just because of the Refn co-sign, a stoic enigmatic adonis protagonist, its urban neon tendencies, and warm synth-pop soundtrack affections, but because it could very well be that thing that shows up in the middle of the year that people don't know what to make of tonally, initially write off, and then fall in love with once they discover how it actually operates. In both cases, they're like late '80s treasure that just got dusted off to be delivered to us now (with amazingly accurate predictions of things like laptops and cell phone technology!), but The Guest has even more overt flags planted in the John Carpenter / Terminator / Near Dark-type fluourishes of that era.

So absolutely see this if you can, people. And it may be even better to go in as blindly as I did. It could very well be the best surprise of the year for me.

**** / 8.9

Pop Trash
09-26-2014, 05:05 AM
I really want to see this despite thinking You're Next was kinda shitty.

Henry Gale
09-26-2014, 06:48 PM
Even though I haven't seen You're Next, I think over time I've gotten a pretty good sense of it, and I don't think The Guest is very much like it at all. I mean, I hope it isn't night and day quality-wise since this new film has definitely accelerated my urge to catch up with it, but it doesn't seem like they're attempting to tackle genre in the same way with them.

Also, having now watched the trailers for this, they're mostly terrible, doing their very best to make this look as horribly generic as possible while giving away way more than I'd want them to. But the best piece of promotion for this seems to have been made independently by Hobo with a Shotgun director Jason Eisener:


I'd still say go in cold if you can, but Eisner's piece captures what it is endlessly better than any official stuff, while still keeping so much of it for the film itself.

10-20-2014, 03:02 AM
Funniest movie of the year.

Stay Puft
11-23-2014, 06:17 PM
I didn't want to vote until I had a chance to see it again, but unfortunately a second viewing did not change my mind. I saw it back at TIFF with the Midnight audience and never felt so out of touch in my life. The audience ate it up, but I sat there thinking, okay, it's a pastiche of a bunch of genre stuff, who cares? I felt like I had completely missed the proverbial boat here, but watching it again... I guess I'm just not this film's audience.

It is certainly funny and entertaining in bursts. I laughed a lot during a few scenes back at TIFF, and I found myself laughing just as hard on my second viewing. This is mostly the stuff involving David and Luke, but that takes me to the big problem: Nothing else plays as well. The film peaks at that first scene in the bar. The setup is decent, but once the film reveals its hand and the plot kicks into gear, it grows increasingly incoherent; from emotional responses to character deaths, 80's action movie clichés being trotted out for their own sake, and the film completely (intentionally, I guess?) whiffing on its topical military themes (and so on), I just sat there scratching my head. Everything plays flippant and false. I don't know. I feel like a party pooper. Am I old? I'm getting old, aren't I.

01-03-2015, 07:16 AM
loved this

01-03-2015, 10:35 AM
Plays it straight and is able to generate some interesting textures, but the third act is a bore.

01-12-2015, 11:56 AM
Shameless whoring time again: https://madman731.wordpress.com/2015/01/07/be-careful-of-who-you-invite-into-your-home/

01-12-2015, 01:21 PM
I really want to see this despite thinking You're Next was kinda shitty.

My thoughts exactly.

01-14-2015, 07:45 AM
I loved You're Next. The Guest was much better.

01-16-2015, 02:52 AM
As others noted, this is best until somewhere in the second act. Once Lance Reddick enters the film, it starts to deflate; also, while it's adhering to genre conventions of ignoring the awkward twenty-year-old girl, the father's dismissal of Anna isn't quite situated as "believable." Wingard compresses a lot of events, but by extending out some of Anna's outbursts more thoroughly we could have better understood why he chooses to dismiss his own child over someone who's been in the house for, you know, two or three days.

Luke, the brother, is better sketched, and the narrative is more at home exploring his kinship to Dave than Anna's attraction and horror to him.

Stevens is solid in this--very convincing in what he's asked to do. The final sequence in the school Halloween maze is appopriately inspired, and the ending earns its unsubtle entertainment.

I might actually prefer You're Next to this--both have care and craft, and the soundtrack's quite nice. Not as brilliant as I wanted, but still a fun exercise, and Wingard and Barrett remain a crew to watch.

Also excited to see Maika Monroe follow this up with Mitchell's It Follows.

01-16-2015, 05:14 AM
You're Next is much better than this. It helps that it is funny.

Ivan Drago
01-25-2015, 09:04 AM
Only two words describe this movie:

Fucking awesome.

01-28-2015, 06:35 PM
Only two words describe this movie:

Fucking awesome.
High five since I can't rep anyone on Tapetalk.

02-17-2015, 08:20 AM
Yes, this is a blazing fireball of B-movie fun. It could be even better. I think Wingard and his co-author wrote themselves into a corner with the whole military/government stuff, because the way they introduced the mystery seems to require a level of exposition that the movie simply doesn't have time for, but at the same time, who cares about the explanations? Most people who'll see this are geeky enough to imagine a darker version of Weapon X and that's precisely what it is. Dan Stevens gives a great performance and I'm always happy to see Lance Reddick in anything. The last set piece in the maze is awesome, I was grinning wildly through that whole scene.

On a side note, I think people mimicking John Carpenter's opening titles and synth music is becoming a cliché on itself, but since I love his aesthetic, I couldn't care less. I wonder how Carpenter himself feels about this.

02-17-2015, 02:05 PM
I don't think the film would have been nearly as interesting or fun without the second act turn. It's a great subversion of expectation to go from the Single White Female thriller to a Liam Neeson movie then to a traditional slasher. It pivots rather than merges genres, which is what sustains the mystery of it. I burst out laughing when they suddenly cut to a government meeting with Lance Reddick. It was almost Too Many Cooksian in its switch.

03-08-2015, 03:54 PM
I have to give credit to Wingard - he's improving his craft. I enjoyed this quite a bit.

03-08-2015, 04:38 PM
It pivots rather than merges genres, which is what sustains the mystery of it.

The problem for me was that the mystery quickly became my God, what the fuck are they doing.

I mean, during a third act climax like that, I should be on the edge of my seat, worrying about the heroes or enjoying the villain's villainy. Not thinking, "Man it'd be cool if these guys remade The Funhouse."

On one level I appreciate their weird genre pastiches and attempts to be subversive here and there ... On another level I think it makes Wingard & Barrett into posers, sorta a cut rate Tarantino & Avery.

Pop Trash
03-28-2015, 09:18 PM
sorta a cut rate Tarantino & Avery.

In other words: Robert Rodriguez, which definitely crossed my mind.

This was OK. I do think it's riffing on self-aware genre pastiches without the heart or the "We mean it, maaan!" of someone like Tarantino or the superior Maika Monroe film It Follows. It also often played like a somewhat shittier version of A History of Violence. I don't think Wingard, on a formal level, is that interesting of a filmmaker (or at least not yet.) I mean yeah, the final setpiece was a pretty good riff on The Lady from Shanghai, but I don't think there was that much interesting going on in this visually. Dan Stevens is really great though and the music is cool, even if I suspect the retro synth thing might be starting to get played out in this post-Drive era.