Over the last few years my wife has liked me to watch a show that seems really popular across the globe called Downton Abbey, which affectionately call Downtown Abbey. Clever right? To me the show is fine, especially when they get rid of the horrible characters, practically all satisfactorily. Other than that, I find myself yelling at the television about how horrible most of the characters are. One of the good characters is no longer on the show and was played by Dan Stevens and very well I might add. To date, his was the only character outside of Maggie Smith’s wonderful character; I would have preferred stuck around. But no, we are stuck with the super skinny hag of a woman who still hasn’t learned to treat people right yet. Stevens left the show to pursue a movie career, and one of his first performances that he headlines is The Guest. Does this movie tell us he made a good choice to leave or that maybe he should have stuck around for a sure paycheck?
A small town family is still grieving over the death of a son and brother who died overseas when serving for the Army. One day a stranger named David (Dan Stevens) comes to their door saying that he was a friend of their son and told him as he died he would check in on them. He quickly becomes a house guest because of his seemingly innocent charm and each member of the family builds a relationship with him. When the daughter (Maika Monroe) becomes suspicious of him, she calls the Army base he said he was from and finds out that maybe he isn’t the man he said he was.
Simple plot that also sounds familiar in a been there done that sort of way. Not this one. Stevens does a great job at being creepy charming in this role and you are transfixed by it. You are also seemingly anxious throughout the movie because of the great score and song selection that makes even the most innocuous scene tense. Monroe and the rest of the family cast are all pitch perfect casting. The mom and dad, played by Sheila Kelley and Leland Orser are fantastic as a sweet mom and a kind of a bummer dad going through marriage issues and it’s believable. Brendan Meyer does a great job as the young son being bullied and does a great job of showing how his character slowly becomes close to the main character. The film itself also looks incredible, with some stand out cinematography and interesting lighting choices.
The entire film plays out like a seventies grind house thriller, minus all the cheesy acting. This was a really fun film to watch, mostly because of the acting, music and a continual sense of not sure what’s going to happen next. It seemed like what was going to be a clichéd and already seen it a hundred times ending, instead gives us a satisfying ending at the very last moments. There is violence in the film, some language and a scene of sexuality without nudity that is on screen for a few seconds. If you are a fan of interesting movies and their even more interesting cinematography as well as a enjoyable movie, this one is for you.
3 and ½ stars out of 4