The Guest (2014) Film Review by Gareth Rhodes

The Guest (2014) Directed by Adam Wingard. With Dan Stevens, Maika Monroe, Brendan Meyer, Sheila Kelley and Leland Orser.


From cult-horror director Adam Wingard, The Guest is a horror-lite-thriller about man (Stevens) visiting the bereaved family of a soldier killer in combat, claiming to be a close friend of their deceased son.

The star of the film, Dan Stevens, appears like a cross between Ryan Gosling in Drive and Chris Evans as Captain America – smooth and handsome, but with an unnerving amount of confidence that creates an early inkling of something not quite right. After meeting Mom, he’s gradually introduced to the rest of the family of four – quickly acquainting himself with each member.

After only a few minutes, it’s plainly evident we’re on familiar turf as the story sets about moving its characters into predictable plot situations. After Stevens,  the elder sister of the family (Maika Monroe) is perhaps given the most amount of screen-time – styled as sexy college-girl bait for the antagonist, which is about the extent of our invitation to get to know her.

With its soundtrack, the film seems to ape Drive with an indie/electronic track selection, yet it feels a little inflicted. Where the songs in Drive were cool and complimented the scenes, it feels like The Guest is trying hard prescribe its own ‘cool’, which is where it partly comes up short.

While the execution is patchily good and the shot selections and camera work are fine, there is an abiding sense that it’s too derivative to embrace, leaving a hollow feeling. The finale devolves further still with a tacked-on ending, complete with the speculative sowing of franchise seeds – please no! Although Dan Stevens is good value in the lead role, don’t be surprised to find yourself comparing The Guest to much better films. 2.5/5

About garethrhodes

Full-time lover of all things creative.
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20 Responses to The Guest (2014) Film Review by Gareth Rhodes

  1. emmakwall says:

    Oh I really loved this! I thought itw as great but the ending was a little silly. I was laughing and not sure if I was supposed to be?!

    But the first 40 minutes of the film are SO good! I love when he beats up the bullies in the bar and I love the soundtrack and I love Dan Stevens (his US accent was great!)

    • garethrhodes says:

      If you look at Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 90%, meaning most of the critics agree that it’s a great movie.

      It’s not like me to go against the grain, but it just hit me as so seen-it-all-before. I did like Dan Stevens, though.

      • emmakwall says:

        The funny thing is – I watched it last night! Because of your review 🙂 I think that’s pretty cool!

      • garethrhodes says:

        Emma, that’s very cool – thank you so much for letting me know. Who knows, maybe one day I’ll be channel-hopping and I’ll stumble across The Guest again and find a better film than I remember. 🙂

  2. filmfunkel says:

    I thought the story was the evil twin of Jason Bourne, but I did like the music… and your review. 😀

  3. Definitely agree with you. You’ve been more generous than I would have been on its rating.

  4. I really liked this movie. Too bad you didn’t, but I see where you’re coming from. It gets ridiculous towards the end but I think it did build up to it. Either way, great post!

    • garethrhodes says:

      Thank you, Mel. I’m not usually one to argue with the consensus of opinion, but I struggled with this one. I can see that most people seem to really like it. I guess I’m the odd one out, this time. 🙂

  5. Lukas says:

    Adored the film.

  6. table9mutant says:

    Great review! 🙂 I just reviewed this one as well & totally couldn’t help but compare it to Drive. I wanted to love it but I didn’t quite know what to think of it….

    • garethrhodes says:

      Phew! It’s good to find someone else who struggled with it – at least I know that I’m not alone. Honestly, the film didn’t surprise me one bit. I didn’t find it mysterious or suspenseful, just increasingly dumb and overly derivative. All I could think of was how much of a better film Drive was. Thank you. 🙂

  7. Chris Evans says:

    Great review Gareth – not something I fancy seeing to be honest but the Ryan Gosling/Chris Evans (not myself haha) was lingering at the back of my mind when I saw the trailers a while back!

    • garethrhodes says:

      Thank you, my friend.

      I’m against the run of popular opinion on this one. It might be worth a spin if you’re in the mood for one of those thrillers with a horror-lite edge.

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