I have to tell you, I wasn’t sure what to expect from The Guest, the new Dan Stevens film just being released on blu-ray. The first thirty minutes or so seemed like a haphazard action thriller with 1980s roots, but that’s part of it’s deftly constructed charm. It sneaks up on you. It’s rare that any film can pull off such a feat, but this film, which is like a horror/thriller/action black comedy mashup, is a real treat and will will remembered as classic genre fare for years to come. People just have to find it first.
David Collins (Dan Stevens) has been discharged from the Army. He’s a kind, unassuming good hearted fellow who shows up at the home of the Petersons’. David has a message about their son, who was also a soldier, and didn’t make it back. The Petersons’ invited David to stay with them with for a few days and and becomes a part of their family, filling the void left behind by their departed son. Laura Peterson (Sheila Kelley) the grieving mother welcomes him like her own son and Spencer (Leland Orser) her alcoholic husband becomes David’s friend.
The whole family loved David, Luke (Brendan Meyer) idolizes him and even the skeptical daughter Anna (Maika Monroe) finally accepts him. Until she sees a jarring display of violent behavior. But David takes care of bullies harassing Luke, helps Spencer get a promotion, he’s the son they lost.
However, like any good thriller, this can’t last right? David is too good to be true, arriving at the right moment, ingraining himself into the Petersons’ home and lives. It’s when the mask falls, and oh… Does the mask fall, that the real David Collins comes out to play.
You see, David Collins isn’t the gee wiz, boy scout, instead he’s like The Terminator mixed with Friday The 13th’s Jason. He’s that much of a bad ass, and Dan Stevens is amazing in the title role. If you ever seen his work on Downton Abby, this will not only show you his range but will toss you sideways for a loop. I didn’t know Matthew Crawley had it in him! But he drives this film home, with a hard pointed edge.
Maika Monroe is equally great as the sassy daughter who is the only member of the Petersons’ house that can see David for who he really is. She is the one who puts two and two together and goes toe to toe with David. She brings the right amount of spunk, sass, and guts to the role and gives Dan Stevens a run for his money.
The rest of the cast is amazing as well. Lance Reddick chews all the scenery he can as the man who gives Anna the tools and know how to battle David. He’s clearly in on the joke and having a ball. Leland Orser is keenly aware that this is a satire and brings a nice deft touch to Spencer and his alcoholic ways. It’s a perfectly cast film and everyone understands the genre and the comedy, which is really rare in any satire.
The Guest arrives on blu-ray in an excellent transfer. The film tends to be on the dark side, but has real pops of color that look great in HD. The details look great, which is to be expected in newer blu-ray releases. The soundtrack pops and you’ll be happy to have surround sound with this one. The audio palate adds so much depth to the film overall, and while some might complain about the sound quality in the big action scenes, I liked that it was more restrained in terms of bombastic effects.
For a newer film, I was really hoping for a little more in the way of special features but what we do get is standard but interesting.
The Audio Commentary with Director Adam Winged and writer Simon Barrett is excellent. They reveal a lot of the in-jokes, references, and genre throwbacks. They also reveal a lot of fun easter eggs that were put into the film. They even go into things that could have been better, budget limits, and even some crew members that they wouldn’t work with again. Ouch! It was so great to hear a candid commentary for once!
There are also about 15 minutes of deleted scenes available with optional director commentary and a short q and a with Dan Stevens. The interview is really short, it would have been nice to see sometime much longer, but it’s still great to have.
Overall, I don’t know how I missed this gem of a movie while it was in theaters. Seriously, it was fantastic and made me look at Dan Stevens in a whole new light. He not only broke out of his floppy English costume drama and became a bad-ass over night. Check this out!
The Guest is out now on blu-ray!