Actors: Dan Stevens, Maika Monroe, Brendan Meyer, Sheila Kelley, Leland Orser
Director: Adam Wingard
Format: Multiple Formats, Blu-ray, Color, Widescreen
Language: English (Dolby Digital 5.1), English (DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1)
Subtitles: French, Spanish, English
Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
Number of discs: 2
Rated: R (Restricted)
Studio: Universal Studios
Release Date: January 6, 2015
Digital Copy Expiration Date: May 2, 2016
Sometimes action movies are dumb and fun, like pretty much all of the buddy cop films from the 1980s, especially those starring Sylvester Stallone. Sometimes they are highbrow like the Bourne franchise or most adapted from Tom Clancy novels. Rarely are there movies that are able to capture both the intelligence of thoughtful action paired with the excitement of innovative spectacle. The Guest isn’t so much one of these movies as it is a hodgepodge of collected sequences and referential nods to many influential films of the past. Despite the clear tendency to borrow from other films, or perhaps because of it, The Guest is pulsing with an undeniable energy and sense of spectacle.
The movie begins with the unnerving arrival of recently discharged soldier David Collins (Dan Stevens) on the doorstep of the Peterson family. Having recently lost their son overseas, the family is quick to embrace one of members of their son’s platoon, taking it on faith that he is being honest about their friendship. Only the daughter, Anna (Maika Monroe), has suspicions that David is more than he seems. Even though the plot seems somewhat predictable and familiar at first, the approach The Guest takes in slowly hinting at more complex twists is half of the enjoyment. What begins as a simple scenario turns into a roller coaster ride of bad-ass fun.
Director Adam Wingard and scribe Simon Barrett previously tackled the horror genre in a similar manner with the home invasion thriller, You’re Next. This time they seem determined to capture the essence of early John Carpenter with a heavily synthesized score and blend of action and sci-fi thriller. The greatest success in the film comes from the simplicity of the premise, including no pretense at being something more than it is. These seem to be the successful R-rated action films these days, especially paired alongside this year’s release of John Wick.
The Blu-ray combo pack comes with a DVD and digital HD copy of the film, as well as a handful of extras. The highlight of the special features is a feature commentary track with Wingard and Barrett, though there is also a Q&A with Stevens and some deleted scenes.
Entertainment Value: 9.5/10
Quality of Filmmaking: 8/10
Historical Significance: 7/10
Special Features: 7.5/10