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The Guest is a 2014 American thriller film directed and edited by Adam Wingard and written by Simon Barrett, both of whom previously collaborated on You're Next. Starring Dan Stevens, Maika Monroe, Leland Orser, Sheila Kelley, Brendan Meyer, and Lance Reddick, the plot follows a soldier named David unexpectedly visiting the Peterson family, introducing himself as a friend of their son who had died during the Afghanistan war. After the man is welcomed into their home for a couple of days, a series of deaths begin to occur around his presence, and their daughter Anna begins to have suspicions of David being connected to the deaths.

The Guest
The Guest Film Poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byAdam Wingard
Produced by
Written bySimon Barrett
Music bySteve Moore
CinematographyRobby Baumgartner
Edited byAdam Wingard
Distributed byPicturehouse[1]
Release date
  • January 17, 2014 (2014-01-17) (Sundance)
  • September 17, 2014 (2014-09-17) (United States)
Running time
100 minutes[2]
CountryUnited States
Budget$5 million[3]
Box office$2.4 million[1]

The film premiered at the Sundance Film Festival on January 17, 2014,[4] followed by a release in the United States on September 17, 2014 and the United Kingdom on September 5, 2014.[5] On Rotten Tomatoes, the critical consensus describes it as having "enough intelligence to bolster its darkly violent thrills".[6]



Spencer and Laura Peterson with their children Luke and Anna are coping with the loss of their eldest son, Caleb, to the war in Afghanistan. They are visited by David Collins, a former army Sergeant and Caleb's best friend. He announces to the family his reason of visit; to help Caleb take care of the family. David is polite, warm and friendly toward the family, and Laura offers to let him stay as long as he needs to.

David hears of Spencer's troubles at work and sees Luke return home with a mark on his face, caused by a gang of jock bullies in school. The next day, with Luke's help, David follows the bullying jock gang that attacked Luke to a bar, and humiliates them in a confrontation which erupts into a fight that injures all the bullies. He then uses his knowledge of the law, as well as a bribe, to convince the bartender not to tell anyone. David then goes to a party with a reluctant Anna, where he makes a good impression with her friends. He later saves her friend Kristen from her ex-boyfriend and then has sex with her, and also inquires about where to buy guns from Anna's friend Craig. On their way home, Anna offers to make David a mix CD.

David gives Luke some advice on dealing with bullies and gives him his butterfly knife. He meets Craig and his friend to buy the gun, but then kills them both and takes all the weapons, including two grenades. An increasingly suspicious Anna calls the military base to ask about David. The call alerts a private corporation headed by Major Carver, who assembles a special forces team and heads to the Peterson's house. Anna is told that David had presumably died a week earlier. She then learns that Craig was killed and her boyfriend Zeke has been blamed for it. It is revealed that Spencer's boss died under mysterious circumstances, giving him the promotion he always wanted. Anna asks Luke to research the numbers David has called on his phone.

At school, one of the bullies assaults Luke again, and he retaliates, injuring the bully. After they are both sent to the principal's office, David arrives and coerces the principal to give Luke a month of after-school detention with threats of litigation if the principal expels him. Luke tells David of Anna's suspicions, but promises not to investigate any further or tell anyone else. While David helps Laura with the laundry, Major Carver's team attack the house. David deftly kills all except Carver. Deciding his cover has been blown, David kills Laura. While driving away, he sees Spencer and kills him as well.

Carver picks up Anna and informs her of her parents' death. He also reveals that David was a soldier who became one of the test subjects for a medical experiment in the military and, being a former test subject of the said military program, he was "programmed" to kill anyone who might compromise his identity. David kills Kristen by shooting her, destroys the restaurant she works at, then heads for the school to kill Luke. Carver and Anna head for the school, and enter a haunted house set up for the Halloween dance. David announces his presence by turning off the lights and playing Anna's mix CD, then kills Luke's teacher and Carver. Anna shoots David with Carver's gun, but David stabs her in the leg and attempts to choke her. Luke stabs David with his own butterfly knife. The dying David tells Luke that he's proud of him and that Luke did the right thing.

Sitting in an ambulance, Anna and Luke overhear the firefighters talking about discovering two charred corpses with no teeth. Anna sees a firefighter limp out from within, who turns to face her. Much to her horror, it is revealed that the firefighter is David himself, using the guise to quietly escape the busy scene.



Wingard directed the thriller film with the script written by Simon Barrett. Keith Calder and Jessica Wu produced.[7] On March 7, 2014 Picturehouse picked up the US distribution rights to the film.[8] The film was released into cinemas on September 5, 2014.[9]


Casting choices focused on character actors.[10] On June 11, 2013, actor Dan Stevens signed to star in the role of David.[7] Maika Monroe was signed on June 26, to star opposite Stevens as Anna.[11] On July 8, two more were added to the cast, Brendan Meyer, who played Luke, Monroe's character's younger brother, and Lance Reddick, who played a Major in the Military Police.[12] When casting Stevens, Barrett and Wingard were aware that he would initially be quite likable, both for his attractiveness and his character's importance to the plot. However, they said the title made the story obvious, and though audiences may cheer on his character for his entertainment value, he is clearly the antagonist of the film, something audiences will easily recognize.[13]


On July 17, 2013, the New Mexico Film Office announced the start of the production of The Guest.[14] The filming finished at the end of August and was filmed in different locations such as Moriarty, Edgewood and Estancia.[15]

Original rough cut and test screeningsEdit

According to director Adam Wingard, the original rough cut of The Guest was over twenty minutes longer than the final theatrical cut. After this version was screened to a test audience, it was cut down to the running time very close to the runtime of the theatrical cut. After another test screening, the audience was confused at the sudden arrival of Major Richard Carver and his team at the Peterson home, which is why some scenes with Carver at KPG headquarters were added in final cut of the film.[16][17]

Some of the scenes which were cut down or deleted completely after test screenings were scenes which explained what exactly "David" is, what happened to him, why he does some of the things he does in the film, and more details and information about the KPG program that he was involved in. These scenes were cut because the test audience felt that all of it was just too much information. Even Wingard and screenwriter Simon Barrett admitted that they hated explaining David's character and his background because they always wanted to leave much of the information about him ambiguous, which is why they were glad that those scenes were disliked by the test screening audience and had to be cut out of the film.[18]


The Guest (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)
Soundtrack album by
ReleasedSeptember 16, 2014
GenreStage & Screen
LabelJ-2 Music
The Guest (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)[19]
1."Haunted When the Minutes Drag"Love and Rockets8:01
3."Anthonio (Berlin Breakdown Version)"Annie4:14
4."The Magician"Mike Simonetti3:59
5."Masquerade"Clan of Xymox3:53
7."Because I Love You (The Postman Song)"Stevie B5:03
8."Storm Column"Gatekeeper3:30
9."A Day"Clan of Xymox6:40
10."Emma"The Sisters of Mercy6:34
12."Cry in the Wind"Clan of Xymox5:16
Total length:60:33

Additional tracks (credited and played during the film but not on the official soundtrack):[citation needed]



On June 26, 2014, the first teaser trailer was released,[20] followed by another trailer on August 6.[21]

Box officeEdit

The film opened in the United Kingdom on 5 September 2014 in 274 cinemas. It finished in eighth place, grossing $511,040. After four weeks, the film grossed $1,352,579.[22] The film arrived in US markets on September 17 in 19 theaters. During the first weekend, the film took in $84,527. It expanded to more markets on October 10, increasing its screen count from eight to 53. It grossed $47,957 for the weekend, with a per-screen average of $905. After six weeks, the film grossed $332,890.[23]

Critical receptionEdit

Review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes gives the film a 91% rating based on 110 reviews and an average rating of 7.8/10. The site's consensus states, "Boasting enough intelligence to bolster its darkly violent thrills, The Guest offers another treat for genre fans from director Adam Wingard."[6] Fearnet praised the film's acting and overall remarked that it was "a slick, fast, fun thriller flick."[24] On Metacritic, the film has a 76/100 rating based on 29 critics, signifying "generally favorable reviews".[25] The A.V. Club gave the film a B+ (with a community grade of B+ as well) and said that "Dumb fun is rarely this smartly delivered."[26] Bloody Good Horror gave the film an 8/10 and commented, "Mixing elements from such classics like Halloween, The Terminator, and using the framework of Molière's hidden-identity classic Tartuffe keeps this modern 80's thriller on par with some of the best homages seen in recent memory."[27]


Award Category Recipient(s) Outcome Refs.
BloodGuts UK Horror Awards 2014 Best Film ———— Won [28]
Best Actor Dan Stevens Won
Best Soundtrack/Score Steve Moore Won
Best Director Adam Wingard Nominated
Detroit Film Critics Society 2014 Breakthrough Artist Dan Stevens Nominated [29]
Empire Awards 2015 Best Male Newcomer Nominated [30]
Best Horror ———— Nominated
Golden Schmoes Awards 2014 Best Horror Movie of the Year Nominated [31]
Breakthrough Performance of the Year Dan Stevens Nominated
Independent Spirit Awards 2015 Best Editing Adam Wingard Nominated [32]
Saturn Awards 2015 Best Thriller Film ———— Nominated [33]
Best Actor Dan Stevens Nominated

Home mediaEdit

Universal Studios released the film on a 2-disc DVD, and a Blu-ray version with Digital Copy and UltraViolet feature on January 6, 2015.[34]


  1. ^ a b "The Guest (2014)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved December 25, 2014.
  2. ^ "THE GUEST (15)". British Board of Film Classification. June 16, 2014. Retrieved December 25, 2014.
  3. ^ "The Guest – PowerGrind". The Wrap. Retrieved August 29, 2017.
  4. ^ Harvey, Dennis. ""The Guest" Review". Variety. Retrieved February 20, 2015.
  5. ^ "The Guest (2014)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved January 8, 2015.
  6. ^ a b "The Guest (2014)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved June 14, 2018.
  7. ^ a b "'Downton Abbey's' Dan Stevens Books Indie 'The Guest'". June 11, 2013. Retrieved August 8, 2013.
  8. ^ Billington, Alex (March 7, 2014). "Picturehouse Picks Up Adam Wingard's Kick Ass New Film 'The Guest'". Retrieved March 8, 2014.
  9. ^ "Wingard & Barrett's "THE GUEST" Arrives this September". FANGORIA®. Archived from the original on March 4, 2016. Retrieved January 17, 2016.
  10. ^ Sois, Jose (October 1, 2014). "Interview with Director Adam Wingard and Screenwriter Simon Barrett". PopMatters. Retrieved August 24, 2015.
  11. ^ "Rising Star Maika Monroe Joins 'Downton Abbey's' Dan Stevens in 'The Guest'". June 26, 2013. Retrieved August 8, 2013.
  12. ^ "'You're Next' Filmmakers Cast Lance Reddick, Brendan Meyer in 'The Guest'". July 8, 2013. Retrieved August 8, 2013.
  13. ^ Wolfe, Clarke (September 20, 2014). "Interview: THE GUEST's Adam Wingard and Simon Barrett". Nerdist Industries. Retrieved August 24, 2015.
  14. ^ ""The Guest" Production has begun in New Mexico". July 17, 2013. Retrieved August 8, 2013.
  15. ^ "'Downton Abbey' star filming thriller in N.M." July 17, 2013. Archived from the original on February 2, 2014. Retrieved August 8, 2013.
  16. ^ "Adam Wingard, Simon Barrett, and Dan Stevens on The Guest, and its place in their big plan". The Dissolve. Retrieved January 17, 2016.
  17. ^ Nicolas Winding Refn at THE GUEST, Sundance Next Fest 2014. August 31, 2014. Retrieved January 17, 2016 – via YouTube.
  18. ^ "Adam Wingard Talks 'The Guest,' Dan Stevens, and Making the Gothest Soundtrack of the Year". Zimbio. Retrieved January 17, 2016.
  19. ^ "The Guest [Original Motion Picture Soundtrack]". AllMusic. Retrieved February 23, 2017.
  20. ^ Billington, Alex (June 26, 2014). "Dan Stevens in First 'The Guest' Teaser Trailer from Wingard & Barrett". Retrieved June 27, 2014.
  21. ^ Anderton, Ethan (August 6, 2014). "Watch: Indie Action Thriller 'The Guest' Gets a Great Second Trailer". Retrieved August 7, 2014.
  22. ^ "The Guest (2014) – International Box Office Results". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved February 17, 2015.
  23. ^ "The Guest (2014) – Weekend Box Office Results". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved February 17, 2015.
  24. ^ Weinberg, Scott. "FEARNET Movie Review: 'The Guest'". Fearnet. Retrieved March 13, 2014.
  25. ^ "'The Guest'". Retrieved September 6, 2014.
  26. ^ "The Guest – Review". A.V. Club. Retrieved February 22, 2015.
  27. ^ "The Guest – Review". Bloody Good Horror. Retrieved February 22, 2015.
  28. ^ "BloodGuts UK Horror". BloodGuts UK Horror. Retrieved January 17, 2016.
  29. ^ "Awards". Detroit Film Critics Society. Retrieved January 17, 2016.
  30. ^
  31. ^ "Golden Schmoes Winners and Nominees (2014)". Retrieved January 17, 2016.
  32. ^ "Nomination BEST EDITING". Retrieved January 17, 2016.
  33. ^ "The Academy of Science Fiction Fantasy and Horror Films". Retrieved January 17, 2016.
  34. ^ "The Guest (2014): Releases". AllMovie. Retrieved February 23, 2017.

External linksEdit