Adam Wingard’s The Guest is part 1980s nostalgia fest, part thriller, and part knowingly outlnadish. These elements combine for an entertaining watch.
The Peterson family are still mourning the death of their eldest son, who was killed in action, when a soldier turns up at their house claiming to be a former comrade of his. As David quickly endears himself to the family, his presence brings about some disturbing activity…
The Guest is, above all, an entertaining film. The film takes the mysterious stranger trope and plays it for both tension and laughs. Director Adam Wingard imbues his film with a wink of self-awareness to the audience. It is clear that The Guest does not take itself too seriously, allowing the audience to laugh at the more absurd moments.
The film reveals details about its protagonist little by little. It is clear from the beginning that there is more than meets the eye with David, but there is a sense of unpredictability which keeps viewers engaged. The ending of The Guest is a little silly, however with the tangent that the film takes, this is not entirely surprising.
The Guest has an unmistakably 1980s feel to it. There is something very retro to many elements of the film. There are shades of 80s slasher movies, particularly in the film’s climax. The soundtrack retains this theme, with the synth-heavy electro songs provided a fitting accompaniment to the visuals.
Dan Stevens takes a stark departure from the role he is known for with The Guest. This is a wise move, as Stevens shows his versatility as David. Maika Monroe is decent as Anna.
The Guest is an unusual mix of thriller and comedy, served with a large slice of 1980s nostalgia. The narrative does descend into absurdity, but this is part of what makes the film enjoyable.