Rupert Pupkin Speaks: Universal Home Entertainment - THE GUEST on Blu-ray ""

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Universal Home Entertainment - THE GUEST on Blu-ray

THE GUEST (2014; Adam Wingard)
THE GUEST is one of those films that is best served to a prospective audience member with the least amount of knowledge of what it's about going in. I realize that is a difficult proposition these days and that it is nigh onto impossible to not get this or that bit of information on a movie before seeing it, but it certainly enhances the viewing experience. All I really knew when I sat down to watch it was that it was the writing/directing duo that brought us YOU'RE NEXT (Simon Barrett & Adam Wingard) and that genre fans seemed to be digging it. I mean, I could make guesses about the film's story based on just the Blu-ray cover, but it was fun to see things actually at out. I'm not even going to summarize the plot but suffice it to say that it's one of those movies that has you guessing and making assumptions from the very beginning. It's neat though because those assumptions, right or wrong, didn't really detract from my enjoyment of the film. It has a sense of 1980s cinema sewn into its DNA in lots of ways, but I don't mean to make it sound kitschy. I'm not going to mention any 80s films that were clearly influential as to not put any predispositions in the heads of those that have yet to see it. THE GUEST is a well-made and nicely paced thriller at its core so it starts on solid ground and extends out into a lot of fun scenes from there. Was it Howard Hawks who said a movie should have three or four great scenes and no bad ones? I think it was, but regardless that is what the filmmakers are shooting for with this. Actor Dan Stevens plays the remarkably affable yet unnerving lead in the movie and he is nothing short of spectacular. The role calls for one of those characters that can be reserved but command a room when he needs to and Stevens does that perfectly. He really stands and delivers on many of the "great" scenes in the movie in a lovely way. It's a movie that is really well written and put together though and that makes two very entertaining features from Barrett and Wingard. They seem to make these wonderful crowd pleasers for genre fans and I'm totally on board with what they are dishing out. I know they are horror guys at heart, but clearly they like to mix it up in terms of the types of fis they role into each of their efforts. While THE GUEST has certain borderline horror elements to it, there's a lot more going on and the movie benefits from the mixture that they've created. It's a very engaging movie pretty much right outta the gate and for me was one of the better things I've seen in 2014. Worth a rental at the very least, perhaps a blind buy. It goes without saying that I am anticipating these guys' next movie with a lot of hope for greatness. They're on a role I would love to see them continue.

Special Features:
-An Audio Commentary from director Adam Wingard and writer Simon Barrett. This is a very loose and admittedly off-the-cuff track and yet Wingard and Barrett have lots and lots of interesting things to say about pre-production, the shoot itself (and some difficulties with it) , inspirations for specific shots, the script, the characters and the actors. It's a cool informative conversation with lots of scene-specific anecdotes and very few quiet moments. These gents have a lot to say about all aspects of the filmmaking and they are very light and jovial about it all which makes it a nice listen.
-Dan Stevens Q&A (3 mins) - I would have liked this interview to be a little longer, but Stevens has some interesting comments about the challenges and enjoyment he got from making he film.
-Deleted Scenes (15 mins) -Includes a handful of excised sequences and each one has the option of hearing Adam Wingard and Simon Barrett commentary on them. It's easy to see why many of these were cut (as the filmmakers explain), but it's neat to see them nonetheless.

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