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Shane Bradley

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New New York
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The Guest

It seems "genre-mashing" has had a renaissance this year from excellent indie films like Cold in July and Calvary to blockbusters like Guardians of the Galaxy. Going in with no knowledge of The Guest, the overwhelming memory I left with, was of another entertaining, atmospheric and cinematic entry in that category.

The Guest unsurprisingly focuses on an unknown house guest, David, who comes to check-in on his recently deceased best friends' family. Initially the perfect guest, of course some odd things start to happen in the small town and well lets say thing don't go too smoothly for the second half of the film.

As I said it mashes genres especially in the latter half where they try to explain the main character's actions a grey area where the film might have lost its way; however they have smartly crafted that into a second mystery explained in as few lines as possible and left it up the viewer to connect the dots rather than get bogged down in long and unnecessary detail.
I had a few issues with the film namely the largely stereotyped suburban family; the rowing parents, the rebelling daughter and the nerdy bullied son, but it's their interactions with David that brings them to life and exposed a different, far more complicated side to their characters.
Dan Stevens has terrific screen presence and brings a sense of foreboding even if everything on screen appears normal (I could have done with a few less lingering shots of his growling face if i'm being honest).
The cinematography and sound, particularly the soundtrack were superb, I enjoyed just watching every scene, even if some of the dialogue or acting were a bit jarring. The final showdown was particularly intense, excellent use of tight shots, lighting, sound, and scenery almost bring the film into the slasher/horrer genre(Minor Spoiler: I have to say that school must have one hell of a budget for student discos).

An entertaining atmospheric 90 minutes with some good performances, it's not a mind blowing or highly original experience but definitely worth a watch in what as been a fairly low key year in film.

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