BABES & HUNKS
(in addition to
being, uh, good)
Dir. Adam Wingard
Starring: Dan Stevens, Maika Monroe
Review By Greg Klymkiw
This creepy, edge-of-you-seat thriller is a cool contemporary take on Alfred Hitchcock's Shadow of a Doubt. It ain't Hitchcock (what is?) and The Master would never let scribe Simon Barrett get away with the disappointing, too-predictable "shocker" reveal that slides its way into the proceedings, but director Wingard more-than-ably puts his terrific thespians through decent blood-soaked gymnastics.
David's (Dan Stevens) an army pal of Caleb, a young fella who died bravely in battle. Returning from his tour of duty in lovely Afghanistan, he pays a surprise visit to the lad's grieving family to relay the verbal messages croaked out in his friend's death rattles. The family is so charmed by the handsome, but kind of "off" David, that he's invited into their home to stay as a guest.
Caleb's little sister, the babe-o-licious Anna (Maika Monroe, also leading the casting charge in It Follows) is certainly enamoured with David's buff, hunky good looks, but as the film progresses, she's able to see there's something not all together right with The Guest. Danger looms, as does the bloodletting.
When it's revealed that David might not entirely be telling the truth, she keeps her eye on him and eventually realizes her family might be at risk of being iced. This is not only a good deal for thriller fans, but it's a nice contemporary spin on Hitch's classic by utilizing the whole backdrop of psychos-in-the-army, post-traumatic stress disorder and, of course, America's ridiculous waste of human life in their moronic "war on terror".
Wingard's direction here is more taut and assured than his previous outing You're Next and even when the plot veers into please-don't-go-there territory (a similar problem that afflicted the aforementioned 2011 thriller), it's still a sheer delight to see how well the filmmaker manages the carnage, action and suspense. No need to be a total grumpy-pants like I was about the predictable turns eventually taken by the plot. The Guest is ultimately a corker of a thriller that'll more than satisfy one's need to accidentally expunge waste matter in one's panties.
THE FILM CORNER RATING: *** 3-Stars
The Guest is a Dfilms and Picturehouse release launching in TIFF's 2014 Midnight Madness series.
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