Every once in a while you have to hit the reset button on genre movies. No genre needs that more than the horror/slasher film scene, where as soon as something hits, the studio will run a series into the ground. As the “Paranormal” series is looking like it is on life-support and with “The Purge” films are getting ready to make a run of its own, there is still an opening for something original to come along. In 2011 “You’re Next” brought back the classic eighties slasher film that reminded you that going to a secluded spot with a group of friends is never a good idea. Not looking like a film that will have a future sequel with the words again or part 2, “You’re Next” was a fresh arrival that had you having fun more with the genre than we’ve had in a while.
The other thing that film had me wondering was what would be next, after the filmmakers contributed to the “V/H/S” film series they are back with something fresh and new again in “The Guest”. The Peterson’s are not in a good place right now. After losing their son in the Middle East, they have not been coping well with the loss. That changes when a stranger named David (Dan Stevens) shows up at their door as a friend of their deceased son, and that he promised him that he would check on them and make sure they were ok. The mother Laura (Shelia Kelley) is taken in by the stories that are shared about her son and soon invites David to stay the night. Soon the rest of the family meets David, the father Spencer (Leland Orser) is a little apprehensive about him staying, while the other two kids, Luke (Brendan Meyer) and Anna (Maika Monroe) don’t really care either way. David keeps his word to his fallen friend and seems to be just what the family needed to return back to happier times. Soon after things take a turn, as David’s past catches up with him in a way that will affect the Petersons as well.
Keeping with the formula that worked so well with “You’re Next”, writer Simon Barrett and Director Adam Wingard return with another fun ride. Keeping the feel and sound of the eighties, they give you a film where it is hard to choose who to root for. With one mood set for the first half only to be changed mid film, Wingard and Barrett do a good job of making you feel like you got two movies for the price of one. For all the set pieces and a story that’s just plain fun, it is the performance of Stevens that makes it all complete, as he plays just enough nice as he does creepy, a line he walks so very well. In the end “The Guest” is just a fun and entertaining movie that seems to accomplish exactly what it aims for. I can’t wait to see what these guys do next.