WHAT TO DO ON NEW-YEARS EVE: WATCH THE GUEST

It’s New Years Eve.

If you’re reading this, you’re either on the west coast waiting for friends to give you a heads up on where the party’s at, or you’re a loser an introvert who decided to stay home tonight and play it safe. Maybe you’re staying indoors with a small group of friends, or you’re like me and you’re bundled up with a significant other to keep you warm while you ignore fireworks (or gunshots) from the coziness of your bedroom.

Whatever the case may be, you should do something tonight to ease   your stress into the New Year. You should spend your night watching a gem of a film I found largely ignored by many year-end lists and movie buffs. Whether you’re with pals or by yourself, you should spend tonight watching one of the greatest films 2014 has to offer: The Guest.

The film revolves around the mysterious well-mannered David Collins (Dan Stevens of Downtown Abbey fame) and his welcomed stay at the Petersons’ home after revealing he was a comrade of their fallen soldier son Caleb. Being the last living-link of their lost son, the family takes him in as he’s introduced to the rest of the family: son Luke Peterson (Brendan Meyer), who acts as if Collins may be the greatest friend he’s ever had, and the rebellious daughter Anna Peterson (Maika Monroe), who became suspicious of Collins’ background since their first meeting, yet still couldn’t help but gasp at a glimpse of his amazing abs.

Collins is perfect: He’s cute, he’s buff, he’s even-tempered, incredibly polite, and he can fight. What the Petersons don’t know is what the mysterious man is capable of. What the audience knows from the beginning is actually way more than any character in the entire movie. That’s because The Guest plays heavily on general tropes and archetypes, but executes it so well, it comes off as intelligent and stylish, rather than annoying and cliché.

In fact, the movie layers its coolness in between several genres and eras of filmmaking. It’s difficult to pinpoint what type of movie The Guest is, but it’s manageable to call it a blend of suspense, horror, dark comedy, and sci-fi. It’s homage to 80’s. It’s an ode to clichés. 

It’s a film where kids prove to adults that they were right the entire time. The final battle takes place in a high school gym just before a Halloween party. Kids are smoking pot and drinking beers in typical horror-movie costume party fashion. It’s a film featuring an antagonist badass with no backstory the audience loves to root for during the entirity. It’s a goddamn film by every stereotype, but it’s done so well it seems like an eleaborate 80’s joke on slasher films and action flicks.

The Guest was written by Simon Barrett and directed by Adam Wingard who’ve previously worked on one of 2011’s (or 2013’s) greatest movies, You’re Next. That should give some readers an idea of what to expect with The Guest — a sly story of a shady character whose intentions are more destructive than orginally thought.

It’s all in good clean fun for film buffs and cult fans. It’s also a go-to movie for this those wanting something to peep on New Years Eve, sober or not. I highly suggest watching The Guest sometime soon, but tonight might be the best night for it.

Happy New Year’s — be safe everyone!

Rent The Guest right here on Amazon Instant