Adam Wingard's The Guest has been playing in limited release. Find out what we thought.
|"I think my shirt is stuck in my mouth|
Would you like to dig it out
with your tongue?"
Consider the setup: A handsome drifter played by Dan Stevens (Downton Abbey) shows up on the doorstep of a family that recently lost one of their own to the war overseas. The stranger introduces himself as David, produces a photograph of the Army unit he served in with their son, standing with arms around each other’s shoulders; it helps his cause that the photo already existed on the family’s mantle. He’s confident, polite, says his “yes ma’am’s,” listens to everyone’s problems, shares a few beers with the dad, and carries messages of love from their deceased son. Why not let the young man stay for a few days?
|What's better than a hot|
Maika Monroe in a waitress outfit?
A whole bunch of them.
A film like this requires performances to be calibrated just right, and Dan Stevens brings it like none other. He’s creepy, mysterious, charming, funny (but not too funny), charismatic, all in the exact measure and alternating strokes the film requires. Stevens flashes a James Bond gaze one way to an attractive brunette, beds her in minutes, and the next moment, he’s leveling a glare at the camera that could make the shit in your pants shit its pants. It won’t win any Oscars, but this is a performance for the ages.
With a presence as commanding as Stevens, we know a villain is only as good as his nemesis, and The Guest provides us a great one with Maika Monroe as Anna. A plucky blonde, ferocious with attitude, and drop dead gorgeous to boot, Monroe is what you would get if you crossed Kat Dennings with Brie Larson, gave her Larson’s acting chops, and took away Dennings’ uncanny ability to annoy the ever-loving snot out of anyone not distracted by her chest to the point of hearing loss. Monroe and Stevens share a lot of screen time together, and when they aren’t saying much is when the film is saying it all. This is good stuff.
|"Oh look! The masks from|