Ever wonder what happens after you leave ‘Downton Abbey’ as one of it’s most popular characters of the show..’Matthew’?’ Well this movie might answer some of those questions for you. From the get go you wonder to yourself..’what happened to that pasty-white Brit who played as one of the Brit’s upperclassmen so very well.. cuz let me tell you..THIS Dan Stevens is definitely not that guy. THIS Dan Stevens looks amazing, someone clearly got a tan, worked out & came over to the dark side..hahahaha This character he plays here is such a far-fetch than what we are used to seeing him in, I wouldn’t think they are even one and the same person. Now did I love this movie..well…I will admit to being confused for a bit if they actually meant it as a serious movie, sorta like the pitch/trailer was, or what exactly it was meant to be. It starts off creepy, goes to serious, goes campy, goes silly, goes action-y, goes just plain stupid, goes horror. After a while you get the jist that it’s just supposed to be B or even D movie campy as anything..and if you can realize that from the beginning you will probably enjoy it more than I did the first hour because it will make much more sense.. It wasn’t till the Q & A afterwards with Director: Adam Wingard & Writer: Simon Barrett that I actually gleaned this important fact. ha! They wanted a ‘Terminator’ meets “Halloween’ type vibe..
Serious part of the plot starts off with “David” (Dan Stevens) showing up at the front door of the of family of his deceased Army buddy Caleb’s house and within the blink of an eye, he is invited to stay by the mom, “Laura” (Sheila Kelly) in her son’s old room no less. Well Dad “Spencer” (Leland Orser) comes home to find this all out and of course has a freak out moment, which quickly passes as they share some beers, cause you know..you can trust people after you’ve shared a few beers! ha! Luckily the daughter, “Anna” (Maika Monroe) figures out that all is probably not on the up and up with this guy, his behaviour, as she takes him to a party with her is really off..her friends start disappearing, the local gun dealer in a cameo from Ethan Embry & town dealer “Craig” (Joel David Moore) – whoosh! gone.. her dad’s boss, boyfriend “Zeke” (Chase Williamson) gives her trouble..have no fear he gets busted after being set up by David.. NO ONE is safe it seems. Her brother “Luke” (Brendan Meyer) thinks David is great after he kicks the school bullies asses for harassing him..so the only person who ‘gets it’ that David is a complete & utter psychopath is Anna.. After she calls the military admin to check on him and they send out basically, a hit squad led by “Carver” (Lance Reddick) after David. What ensues for the next 45min is just so over the top, though some of it was funny..but mostly it was just ridiculous as it turns out David aka “The Guest” is really part of some secret military operation so when he annihilates the whole team plus 1/2 the family in some of the most bizarro scenes of pure mayhem..I had to shake my head a few times as this was a major sub-plot that was pretty underdeveloped as it just gets sorta sprung on you..The following whole Halloween carnival scene where it Anna & Luke are fighting against David is probably the best and worst part of the movie, if that makes sense at all.. 🙂
As for Dan Stevens performance.. some are hailing it as really good..I mean I guess since we are so used to seeing him playing these completely different Brit period piece roles… so yeah..seeing him up on the screen looking so damn good, while it could be considered well..distracting to say the least..but of course in a good way, I didn’t think the performance was great..as he played it in a restrained kinda way..when it seemed as though it should be more over the top..following in the genre of the movie, but it’s definitely not a bad performance and shows he can make his mark doing some other fun stuff, hence the reasoning behind leaving Downton.
Lastly, the soundtrack was given kudos by some..I guess you really have to like and be familiar with speed/heavy metal, which I am not as there were times it almost overpowered the scenes for me. I like soundtracks to be part of and enhance the movie..not be the movie.. Thankfully also the Q & A afterwards cleared up many points about this movie for me at least. It was moderated by Nicolas Winding Refn of “Drive & Bronson” fame, who while he might think out of the box as a director at times, clearly thinks he is the cat’s pajamas..(sunglasses in a movie theatre..just stop) and while I liked Bronson..well.. let’s just say I like a fun, bantering Q & A, not one where the moderator actually seems rude and is putting down the Writer: Simon Barrett & Director: Adam Wingard while moderating. Not cool guy..not cool. Overall judgement of this movie.. I liked it, mostly because of the campy silliness, but I didn’t love it as for a supposed horror/action thriller as it was really neither and never lived up to full satisfaction of either..
Grading Scale: A = Oscar worthy; B = Above average – must see; C = Average; D = Don’t waste your time or money; F= Don’t see the movie (+ or – gives it an edge up or down)