Thursday is the last chance to see a future cult classic midnight movie masterpiece in Omaha: “The Guest,” playing for just a few more showtimes at AMC Oakview.
I know that objectively I’ve seen and will see better movies this year than “The Guest.” It’s not an especially important or groundbreaking film like, say, “Boyhood.” Its goal is little more than making a nasty and wildly entertaining little thriller. But it’s the only movie in 2014 that left me so thoroughly satisfied. I nearly bought a ticket for the next showing after it ended.
The plot is refreshingly simple: A soldier (an inexplicably awesome Dan Stevens of “Downton Abbey”) shows up at the Peterson residence claiming to be a friend of their son who was killed in action. They invite this charming and polite mystery man to stick around awhile. But when a series of accidental deaths hits the community, the family’s daughter (Maika Monroe) suspects their guest might be involved.
The first half of the movie is a slow-burn creepy thriller. The second is a no-holds-barred action movie.
Not to give too much away, but the movie is basically, What if Jason Bourne were the bad guy?
The movie succeeds not only as a lean and efficient thriller but as a pitch-perfect throwback to the John Carpenter movies of the ’80s. From the playful tone to the glam score right down to the opening title font, it nails the feel of a lost classic you’d find in the $1 VHS bin at the closing sale of the last video store in town. But its story and acting takes it beyond the self-conscious pastiche of something like “Machete” or “Hobo with a Shotgun.”
I didn’t care for the writer/director team Adam Wingard and Simon Barrett’s previous movie, the horror pic “You’re Next,” but “The Guest” guarantees I’ll be paying close attention to what they (and stars Stevens and Monroe) do in the future.
If you’re a fan of action, horror, suspense, subversiveness, the 1980s, Halloween or Dan Stevens’ scary blue eyes, I can’t more highly recommend anything in theaters this year.
This remix trailer gives a bit away but will give you the best idea if this is something for you: