Horror Movie Review: The Guest (2014)

The Guest is a 2014 American action horror-thriller film directed and edited by Adam Wingard and written by Simon Barrett.

Spencer (Leland Orser) and Laura Peterson (Sheila Kelley) with their children Luke (Brendan Meyer) and Anna (Maika Monroe) are coping with the loss of their eldest son, Caleb, to the war in Afghanistan. They are visited by David Collins (Dan Stevens), a former army Sergeant and Caleb’s best friend. He announces to the family his reason of visit; to help Caleb take care of the family. David is polite, warm and friendly toward the family, and Laura offers to let him stay as long as he needs to.

David hears of Spencer’s troubles at work and sees Luke return home with a mark on his face, caused by a gang of jock bullies in school. The next day, with Luke’s help, David follows the bullying jock gang that attacked Luke to a bar. He humiliates them in a confrontation which erupts into a fight that injures all the bullies. He then uses his knowledge of the law, as well as a bribe, to convince the bartender not to tell anyone.

David then goes to a party with a reluctant Anna, where he makes a good impression with her friends. He later saves her friend Kristen from her ex-boyfriend and then has sex with her. He also inquires about where to buy guns from Anna’s friend Craig. On their way home, Anna offers to make David a mix CD.

David gives Luke some advice on dealing with bullies and gives him his butterfly knife. He meets Craig and his friend to buy the gun, but then kills them both and takes all the weapons, including two grenades. An increasingly suspicious Anna calls the military base to ask about David. The call alerts a private corporation headed by Major Carver (Lance Reddick), who assembles a special forces team and heads to the Peterson’s house. Anna is told that David had presumably died a week earlier. She then learns that Craig was killed and her boyfriend Zeke has been blamed for it. It is revealed that Spencer’s boss died under mysterious circumstances, giving him the promotion he always wanted. Anna asks Luke to research the numbers David has called on his phone.

At school, one of the bullies assaults Luke again, and he retaliates, injuring the bully. After they are both sent to the principal’s office, David arrives and blackmails the principal to give Luke a month of after-school detention with threats of litigation if the principal expels him. Luke tells David of Anna’s suspicions, but promises not to investigate any further or tell anyone else.

What will David do now, with Anna onto him and Major Carver on the way? Watch and find out.

The Guest is an action horror-thriller and blends these genres surprisingly well. As the movie begins you have an idea of what it’s all going to be about, you’ve seen it all before… But trust me, it’s not what you think. The Guest in blending a mix of different elements manages to create something tense and genuinely intriguing. Dan Stevens is charismatic and a total badass, both a friendly and fatal mercenary. With well-balanced comedy and carnage, The Guest wasn’t the formulaic tale I imagined when reading the plot summary. The supporting cast were great too, with my favourite being Anna – she made him a mix tape damn it! Over all, a well-shot movie with a dreamy electronica soundtrack, ending in a classic Halloween school prom setting. What’s not to like?


  • Sally Powell

    Editor/Writer - Stay at home mum educating the horror minds of tomorrow. If it's got vampires or Nicolas Cage in it, I'm sold. Found cleaning bums or kicking ass in an RPG. (And occasionally here reviewing all things horror and gaming related!)

The Guest
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