The Guest Limited Edition 4K Boxset: The Guest is out now in a Limited Edition 4K Boxset with a ton of extras, and it’s a gorgeous looking set which I unbox in the video below.
The film begins with the intriguing premise where the charming and charismatic David (Dan Stevens) turns up out of the blue at the house of the Peterson family, announcing that he served in the military with their son, Caleb, and that he was with them when the young soldier died. Of course, anyone could say that, but his story checks out because he can be seen in a photo in the household where he’s pictured alongside Caleb.
Only intending to stay for a couple of days, he soon ingratiates himself into the family as if he’s replacing the son and brother they lost, looking cool as a cucumber and as if he’s too good to be true, while the family are lapping up every last Tom Cruise-style smirk as a measure of his true character. But then some bad stuff starts happening, people start getting all spooked out, and it’s one of those films where we know that he’s a bad apple, but the question is – how long will it take for everyone else to figure it out, and how many will have to suffer until they do?
Dan Stevens has a definite screen presence, and this British actor is already making a name for himself on the other side of the pond with recent hits such as Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb and A Walk Among the Tombstones, while also starring in the forthcoming The Ticket, The Cobbler – alongside Adam Sandler, and Criminal Activities, also starring John Travolta. Of course, TV viewers will also know him as Matthew Crawley from ITV’s Downton Abbey.
Commendation also goes to the ‘children’ of the family, Maika Monroe as 20-year-old Anna, and Brendan Meyer as her teenage brother Luke, Leland Orser will be familiar to E.R. viewers as the head of the family, with Sheila Kelley having more to do than him as the mother, and there’s a welcome appearance from The Wire‘s Cedric Daniels, i.e. Lance Reddick, as military bod Major Carver.
The Guest builds slowly with some neat sequences early on such as a well-directed bar fight, and some engaging directorial choices which make me feel like I’m watching a thriller made in the ’70s, whilst the occasional ’80s-like soundtrack makes for a great blend. Yes, there are some moments early on that feel a little on the predictable side, but those can be forgiven because of what else is on view, such as the right balance of humour, particularly in a scene which features ’90s track Because I Love You (The Postman Song) by Stevie B, one of those tracks which drove me up the wall with its incessant play in 1991 as it reached No.6 in the charts, yet I was in fits of giggles when it was delivered here (pun not intended).
Overall, for a number of reasons, which I don’t want to give away here as they’d be spoilers, The Guest, while it is a bit daft occasionally, it is sure to become a cult classic. And I’ve so got to get the soundtrack CD.
I’d also highly recommend You’re Next, from the same writer/director team of, respectively, Simon Barrett and Adam Wingard. It’s a slasher flick which may have a lack of tension – something which is brought to The Guest when required, but it makes up with lashings of gore that’s missing from any number of identikit modern horror films.
The film is presented in the original 2.35:1 widescreen ratio, in 4K on the first date and in 1080p high definition on the second, and it looks absolutely stunning, whether bright daytime scenes or dark party scenes. It’s also well-directed throughout, bringing you a couple of those ’70s-type moments as I mentioned earlier, which is also reflected in the design of the title.
The sound is in DTS HD 5.1 and while it’s not a special FX film, it has great use of music on a regular basis, as I’ve alighted to already.
The package contains both 4K and Blu-ray discs in this dual format release, with a brand new grade for both formats, supervised by director Adam Wingard, and the 4K disc is presented in Dolby Vision HDR.
The extras are as follows:
- The Uninvited Guest (19:40): One of a few new interviews for this release, this one with the lead, Dan Stevens who, early on, talks about how he found the script funny, and that they wanted “the guy from Downton Abbey” for this role of a killer.
Mixing clips with the chat (like all of the interviews), I can see from what he’s wearing, that this interview is recorded while he’s filming last year’s Eurovision movie, The Story of Fire Saga, with Will Ferrell. That was not a great film, but Dan Stevens put on a great performance. In fact, we could just have British actor Dan Stevens singing Lion Of Love, for Russia… Well, in theory, since we could if it was him actually singing it.
It’s a shame there’s no subtitles for these, though.
- A Perfect Stranger (7:29): is a new interview with Actor Maika Monroe, who tells us how she got into acting from the age of 13, one of her early films being At Any Price, with Zac Efron and Dennis Quaid.
- By Invitation Only (48:52): is a very in-depth new interview with director Adam Wingard and writer Simon Barrett, and given the length, I haven’t been through the whole thing as of yet, but we’re introduced to their world by how they met in 2003 on the set of a film called Dead Birds.
- Producing The Guest (23:19): is a new interview with Producers Keith Calder and Jess Wu Calder, whose points of interest include how the Halloween Maze they went through was in the script, but for the smalltown in New Mexico where they ended up, they just happened to have a maze, and on a bigger scale, so that worked very well for them.
- Light and Fog (21:42): brings us a new interview with Director of Photography Robby Baumgartner, including how they’d only move the camera within scenes if it had a purpose – i.e. no throwing it about willy nilly; as well as filming with natural light whereever possible, rather than sticking in additional lighting for the sake of it. However, quite often, there’s a perfect 30 minutes during each such time of day where they can get the right shot.
- Lightning Strikes (13:32): this one is a new interview with Production Designer Tom Hammock where he recollects that in working with Wingard and Barrett, they wanted to make a film which was a mix of Halloween and The Terminator. It’s interesting to note that they filmed it in just four weeks.
- The Sounds of The Guest (12:26): a new interview with Composer Steve Moore, who has a big stack of vintage synthesizers, so he can get the perfect ’80s-style sound when required.
- Deleted and Alternate Scenes (15:12): These play out with optional Director commentary, but I just went for the regular version. There are 8 scenes including one scene shot in two places, as well as an outtake gag as Maika and Lance Reddick are walking through the Halloween Maze, and one of the clowns jumps out and surprises Maika.
There’s also a new Audio Commentary by Director Adam Wingard and Writer Simon Barrett, as well as one from the original release by the pair.
The Blu-ray disc has the same new menu and audio commentaries as the 4K disc, along with all the same extras. That’s good to see, since often, given that 4K releases have to include a regular Blu-ray disc, studios often just throw in the same Blu-ray that came out originally.
Limited Edition Contents (see unboxing video above for more of these):
- Limited Edition of 5,000
Rigid slipcase with new artwork by Adam Stothard
Dual UHD / Blu-ray format
Various Artists Soundtrack CD
160-page book with new essays by Tim Coleman, Zena Dixon, Craig Ian Mann, and Zoe Rose Smith; Script-to-Screen featuring storyboards and script extracts, Behind-the-Scenes photos, and Adam Wingard soundtrack notes
6 collectors’ art cards
Running time: 100 minutes
Distributor: Second Sight Films
Released: October 25th 2021
Picture: 2160p High Definition (4K Blu-ray); 1080p High Definition (Blu-ray)
Widescreen: 2.35:1 (ARRIRAW)
Subtitles: English SDG
Disc Format: BD100, BD50 and CD
Director: Adam Wingard
Producers: Keith Calder and Jessica Wu
Screenplay: Simon Barrett
Music: Steve Moore
David Collins: Dan Stevens
Anna Peterson: Maika Monroe
Luke Peterson: Brendan Meyer
Laura Peterson: Sheila Kelley
Spencer Peterson: Leland Orser
Major Carver: Lance Reddick
Kristen: Tabatha Shaun
Zeke: Chase Williamson
Craig: Joel David Moore
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.