29 September 2014

Retro Slashing

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There was this one time that I was alone in the house when suddenly somebody burst through the front door and ran straight up the stairs. As it turned out, they desperately needed the bathroom and didn't feel the need to shut the door behind themselves. I was therefore treated to the sounds of a stranger shitting their guts out. I heard every fart, every splash and every groan. There wasn't a single element of their arse flappage that I didn't experience with crystal-clear clarity! The problem was that I was in the room directly opposite the bathroom and so, although they wouldn't have seen me on their trip in, they'd be looking right at me on their way out. The only thing worse than having a stranger run into your house and start shitting up the walls is the social awkwardness afterwards and so I started to panic. I decided to try and shut myself in so that I'd be hidden from view, however, because my door is annoyingly creaky, I had to time my actions to the sound of their... noises. Do you ever have those moments where you look at your own life and wonder “what the fuck has gone wrong?” Hiding from a stranger as they filled the house with the stench of their own anus was certainly one for me.
As I'm sure you'll have guessed, that completely unrelated story brings me to the topic of The Guest. Both my anecdote and the film involve a strange person arriving from out of the blue and creating a hell of a lot of shit. Obviously in my case, I mean this quite literally whereas in the film he just shoots a couple of people in the head and then stamps on a few ankles. The Guest tells the tale of a youngish chap named David who randomly turns up at a family’s house having just gotten out of the army and claims to know their dead soldier son. At first he seems like the perfect visitor, in that he's kind, helpful and has messages of love from the child they lost. However, there's always a catch and as the bodies start mounting up around town, there becomes a chance that David isn't exactly everything that he's claiming to be. This is the next film from the team that brought us You're Next and you can kind of tell. Both films are composed of a few different genres, both are hilariously violent and both have their tongue so far in their cheek that they look like the radiator freak from Eraserhead.

Captain America: Cheaper Soldier
I'll say at this point that I thought The Guest was fucking amazing and as of now has a fairly secure spot as one of my top films of the year. If you only see one action, comedy, horror movie starring the cast of Downton Abbey then make sure it's this one! For a start, the only way that this film could feel more 1980's would be if it featured an appearance from Spandau Ballet, the IRA and had Rob Lowe fucking a couple of suspiciously young girls in the corner. From the moment the film begins, we're treated to a retro, synthy, John Carpenter-esque score which, as a fan of his work, made me as giddy as a desperate junkie with a golden ticket to the smack-factory. There's really nothing better than those old 80's horror movies such as The Hitcher or Near Dark and this reminded me of them all. I suppose Halloween is the most obvious comparison seems as that's when the film’s set and there's no denying that David does seem to have something of Michael Myers's supernatural invincibility about him. However, there's also a Terminator thing going on here too that's about as obvious as Arnie's distractingly swinging dick as he decides to strip the clothes from of couple of punks. Like the Terminator, David also beats the crap out of some knobheads in a biker bar before going after some young blonde girl that works in a shitty looking diner... Although, unlike in The Terminator, the waitress here isn't being chased because young, single girls shouldn't be allowed to have babies. 

Whilst we're drawing comparisons, I think there's also an element of Cape Fear as the obviously psychotic David attempts to make the family’s daughter go all gushy in the love-organs. There are scenes of a high-school dance going up in flames that were reminiscent of Carrie, and even a concluding shoot-out in a fun-house maze that smacked of The Man With The Golden Gun. As a diehard fan of the Bond series, this may have been the moment in The Guest in which I realised just how much I was loving it. Any film that reminds me of that time that Roger Moore pretended to be a wax-work of himself so that he could murder a man with three nipples is clearly doing something right in my book. Oh, and actually, going back to Carrie, there is another reference to the remake that I actually think is The Guests biggest problem. Chloe Grace Moretz is vastly approaching that age where it's acceptable to fancy her and yet already she's been ruined. There's a boy in this film that’s the fucking spitting image of her to the point that if I was drunk enough I'd probably still consider going for it... Oh well... that's her ruined. Never mind.

Starring Linda Hamilton and Chloe Grace Moretz
Weirdly though, that pretty boy isn't the only look-a-like in this film with Dan Stevens also being physically similar to a cheap Chris Evans. Being both British and below the age of ninety-five, I've never watched Downton Abbey because it looks proper shit. This is therefore the first time that I’ve ever been exposed to Stevens and I have to say he was really good- charming when he needed to be charming and sinister when he needed to be sinister. As star-making performances go, his work here is probably the modern day equivalent of watching a 1950's starlet suck her career out of some perverted producer’s sinister, fat, cock. If Stevens isn't snaffled up to parade around in a gimp-suit and spandex for some comic book bullshit in the next few years then I'd be surprised. It probably doesn't help that in the second half of the film, Lance Reddick turns up in a black leather coat like a poor man’s Nick Fury. There was one scene as Stevens crawled around a house that was being shot up by Reddick that looked a bit like somebody had been given half a budget and thought, 'fuck it let's just Swede The Winter Soldier'.

I think that The Guest completely gets away with everything it attempts and simply because of how un-seriously it takes itself. The film knows how ridiculous it is and so, like the best of John Carpenter, just attempts to be as absolutely fun as possible. I'm not saying that it has the tightest script of all time but I know that I laughed more during this film than I have done at anything to feature somebody as ball-numbingly unfunny as Rob Schneider. Based on both this and You're Next, I have to say that I'll be following director Adam Wingard's career a lot more closely from now on and I already can't wait to see what he does next. The premise of both films are fairly simple but Wingard manages dig out every possible absurdity that he can and stick them on the screen. In You're Next we had the innocent girl fucking up a gang of mercenaries and here we have a total fucking head-case charming his way into the life of a quiet American family. The scene in which David charms some girl into bed by smashing her ex-boyfriends head through a wall is so intentionally funny because of how intentionally stupid it is. Not only are the final words of this film some of the finest concluding sentiments of any film but they could also be applied to everything that we've seen since the opening title... “What the fuck”.


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