Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Movie Review: The Guest

Last night, as is our annual custom, I watched "A Christmas Carol" with the girls (it's too scary for the boys).  Then I decided to watch "The Guest" on a recommendation from a friend (who shall remain nameless).

Can I recommend it?  No.  How did this get a 96% rating on rottentomatoes??? Now, don't get me wrong--for 3/4 of the movie I enjoyed it. I'm not recommending that the movie not be watched.  I really liked the throwback 80's John Carpenteresque soundtrack.  (There needs to be a name for one of the eerie musical sound effects that had to have been ripped off from the 80's.  Maybe there is a name for it).

I liked the main character well enough.  However...

MAJOR Spoilers:

I couldn't have cared less for the rest of the flat cast.  It's not that the acting was poor, it's just that I REALLY didn't care when the mom, dad, etc. were killed in cold blood because the characters were so flat.  "OK, kill them.  We'll make more," was my basic thought.  There was just nothing to like about the family (except for the son who 'The Guest' befriends). 'The Guest' might just as well have shot complete strangers on the sidewalk instead of the main cast of characters. 

Now in a horror flick, the characters who die are flat, yes, but that doesn't matter--you can still identify with how scared they are and being scared is what makes horror movies fun.  But 'The Guest' isn't a horror flick.  The only killing of note that takes place are a few random executions that come pretty much out of the blue.  It's not scary. 

And that's fine; I wasn't expecting it to be scary, but I was really hoping for more.  We come to the end only to find out...wait...wait...we have a crazy mental patient on our hands.  He's a government project gone haywire.

That's it??  That's the big punchline??  He's crazy??  Oh and there's this: His condition is such that he is deluded into thinking the government is out to get him and that anyone who finds out about him has to be killed.  (Of course he's not so crazy as not to be (a) a terribly adept assassin and (b) someone who can fool an entire family into thinking that he is someone he's not).

And this actually makes things worse.  Now we find out that the would-be hero is really nuts, but he's not like pure evil.  Do I now want to see him dead?  Not really, after all, none of this is really his fault.  So now I just don't care who at all!  I need good guys and bad guy--or at least bad guys. 

Sorry, just not buying it.  (And do we ever find out just WHY he goes to THIS family in the first place pretending to have known their dead son?  That's wasn't explained by the crazy medical condition, if I recall, in which case, the film isn't coherent.)

I was hoping 'The Guest' would turn out to be an angel or demon or REALLY twisted freak or SOMETHING.  But he was just a delusional mental patient.  BORING.

I recommend watching the first 2/3 of the film and making up your own ending.


  1. Ladies & Gentlemen,

    While Tullius' blog is well worth perusal - indeed, daily perusal - for his fiendish cleverness, his right-thinking ways, and the excellent stories about his young ones, please take note that, apparently, his abilities to watch and/or understand a given film are rather limited. [This is to say nothing about his aesthetic tastes...which are also, it seems to me, rather pedestrian.]

    The main character is not a "crazy mental patient." He is not "deluded into thinking the government is out to get him." Neither of those scenarios are entertained by the film.

    Now, whether you're like Tullius and are ultimately "not buying it" [what is there to buy? It's entertainment, not a philosophical treatise] makes no difference. At the very least, with hope dear reader, you could actually come to understand that the plot is not entirely as depicted by our blog-author here. [And should you actually watch the film, you will also likely come to recognize that Tullius' taste in films apparently leaves much to be desired.]

  2. The main character is BASICALLY as I described him. I was a little fast and loose with the details. But it changes nothing.

    Again, I'm not recommending people not watch the film. I just can't give it 2 thumbs up.

  3. I disagree. It changes a great deal. The character begins shrouded in mystery, and you realize by the end of the film that he _remains_ quite mysterious. To suggest that he's crazy and that he is paranoid about the government are somehow the primary features "revealed" by the final third of the film is simply untrue. Furthermore, a recognition of the mysterious nature of the main character - or so it seems to me - is quite the good-making feature of the film.