Downton Baddy: The Guest (of Netflix)

Being wrapped up today is ”The Guest” a thriller? directed by Adam Wingard starring resident Downton Abbey posh-nosh Dan Stevens. Here is the trailer!

I really enjoyed this film and would really recommend watching – especially since it is currently on Netflix! So here it is!

The Peterson family are still reeling from the death of there son, Caleb, in Afghanistan and are solemnly plodding through their daily lives. The parents struggle through job and marriage difficulties whilst their son Luke is bullied at school and their elder daughter Anna (Maika Monroe) works a dead-end job whilst dating a stoner.

So along comes David Collins (Dan Stevens) the ”typical Southern gent”, full of ”Yes, Ma’am”, ”Sirs” and smiles. Although too many smiles if you ask me – the way he is smiling as he says that he was present when Caleb died immediately sets alarm bells ringing. Either way the family take him in whilst he gets his bearings. With his foot in the door he befriends and mentors Luke to defend himself against bullies, whilst seemingly charms and inserts himself into Anna’s group of friends.

That’s all you really need to know as any further details will spoil the film.

Dan Stevens is brilliant as David Collins, exuding charm while never seeming completely honest or truly caring. There is always a sinister under-current with everything he does. And there also a seriously sinister over-current with some thing he does. He is like the love child of Jason Bourne and Mickey Mouse (aka the Disney executives who now seem to own every single movie franchise there is) – I realise the biology there probably doesn’t quite work out. Maybe this evil undertone lies from spending years as a middle class lawyer being sneered at by the Manchester aristocracy (Thanks wikipedia for that Downton titbit.)

NB/ Dan Stevens has a pretty convincing Southern US accent, which if you consider he is from Crawley, England, is nothing short of a bona-fide miracle.

Many of the characters and their dialogue, especially early in the film, is cartoonish and exaggerated essentially playing on the ludicrous number of tropes in action films these days. The obnoxious jock bullies. The moody teenage girl rebelling against her parents with a stoner boyfriend, who after warming to David finds him very handsome. The nerdy boy being bullied who is intelligent and great at computers. What is really entertaining is too see these characters and tropes turned on their head as they follow the films events. As they realise that David may not be all he seems their actions and decisions are often surprising and polar to what is expected.

There are some truly hilarious moments in the film, which are also some of the most intense as you can see what David is really up to under this veil of formality. Specifically Blow Job shots and Cosmos (watch the film and you’ll see). The film is wonderfully directed and has some really interesting and clever visuals. The action/fight sequences are also refreshingly original and thankfully contain no shaky cam! Whoever thought shaky cam is the next cinematic breakthrough needs to be taught a lesson. Preferably in a crazy fight  where he can only see through shaky cam…lets see how they get on then!

My personal highlight is the final act set in the school…which has been turned into a haunted house maze (which would definitely traumatise any 16 year old). This coupled with 80’s neon lighting and a haunting indie-soft rock soundtrack that really creates a superb final piece. In fact the soundtrack throughout the film creates tension and atmosphere whilst providing some light entertainment too!

I would definitely recommend this film to anyone, it really is a great film.