…it’s total shit.

The Guest poster

Honestly, it really is shit. It’s a shit film for lots of reasons, which I will painstakingly rake over presently, but first an explanation for this post’s sub-heading.

The only reason I even saw The Guest was because of the reviews. I’d seen the posters for it (well, I’d seen ads online of the poster, to be honest) and thought it looked complete balls. The posters look like the ones you get for films when the actors have clearly disowned it, have refused to do any more promo shots, so the marketing team are blatantly cobbling the promotional imagery together from whatever scant photos they’ve already got.

But Rotten Tomatoes, IMDb and Metacritic all showed the reviews are really high percentages, really positive, and from real reviewers too, not just whiny ass-clowns like me. So I naturally thought it was a quality sleeper hit.

Rotten Tomatoes review The Guest
Never again will I fall for this

No. No it isn’t. It is, as previously stated, shit. It is, however, cleverly positioned as both an ironic homage and a stylistically self-aware movie. This has side-swiped the reviewers into claiming it’s a successful piece of work. It isn’t though, remember, it’s actually shit. Reviewers are cowards.

They’ve seen each other gradually loading this rancid crap-heap up with plaudits and back-patting, looked nervously around to see if people are joking and, seeing that they aren’t, have scribbled down their own glowing praise. They don’t believe it, not for a second, but they daren’t truly say what they see.

They’ve also fallen into the worst trap of all and started using the phrase ‘cult classic’, whilst it’s still in the fucking cinema. Things can only become cult classics when everyone looks back and thinks ‘Blimey, people actually did like it’. Pre-emptively saying something will be a cult classic is basically saying ‘This isn’t very good, but people might look back fondly on it’s shitness’. Lame.

This is a thriller, so it says, of a soldier returning from war to visit a dead comrade’s family, and the slow reveal of the soldier’s own problems. So far, so good. It isn’t a new idea, but it’s a good one to keep people ready and waiting for the thriller bit to come out.

The trouble is that this is very badly put together, awfully scripted and woefully shot. The acting is risible and the pacing and tension almost non-existent. It all just happens, with new characters and plot points coming from nowhere. It wavers from being a straight story, to being a parody, and back again and again. It does this so badly and so often that it doesn’t strike you as being on purpose, and therefore it’s just annoying.

Dan Stevens doing 'subtle'
Dan Stevens doing ‘subtle’

Dan Stevens is actually quite good, although without any shred of nuance, but in such a bog-awful film that it may actually be hiding the fact that he’s not very good. How he’ll get another lead role after this I don’t know, but then I can’t fathom how this film made it out into the real world at all. It’s nothing more than an exercise of ‘what can I get away with’ on the part of the writer/director, and the last 20mins particularly will stretch even the most ardent viewer’s patience, to the point of anger I would say.

This is B-movie piss-taking of the audience by the film-makers, and the audience has every right to be angry with them after spending £10 and 2hrs of their lives on it. That’s to say nothing of the reviewers don’t forget. These people are supposed to recommend films for their readers, people who only get to see one or two films at the cinema in a month. We, unlike them, don’t get to see 5 films a day, for free, so telling us that this is a 4* experience is a disservice, and you should be as ashamed as I hope you are embarrassed, reviewers all.