The Guest

Nothing worse than a summer cold. It’s sunny and warm out and you’re feeling like there’s gauze shoved up into your sinus cavity and sandpaper is lining your throat. It’s truly miserable. I mean, at least when you’re sick in the dead of winter you really have no reason to be outside anyways. No lawn to mow, no jogging is expected when the roads are snow and ice-covered. No guilt for sitting around in yesterday’s underwear and feeling sorry for yourself.

I started feeling a little lousy Friday afternoon. When I woke up at 3:30am Saturday morning with sweat beading my forehead and a feeling of anxiety I knew the bug had gotten a hold of me. My son had been sneezing the last couple of days, so I think I know where I got this crap(thanks, son!) Well after lying in bed for two hours half dreaming about being late for work and not finding a shirt that fit in my parent’s house, with Run The Jewels playing over and over in my head, I got up around 6 am and walked around aimlessly in the living room. What do I do? Am I dying? Is an alien going to pop out of my chest? Could Donald Trump conceivably be the next President of the United States? Should I get a passport ready for everyone in the house(including the dog) in case we need to escape by hot air balloon to Canada? Finally, I settled on sitting down and watching Netflix. That’s when I remembered I’d saved The Guest in my list of flicks to watch. The Guest is this indie movie about a guy that shows at at family’s doorstep claiming to be an army buddy of their recently deceased son. The stranger goes on to say that he was with their son when he died and that he promised his dying friend he would visit his family back in the states and let them know that the dying son loved his family. Well, the stranger becomes the guest and starts to infiltrate the family’s life. Of course, this handsome stranger isn’t who he says he is and violence and suspense ensues.

I actually really liked the movie. It’s low-budget with a cast of great actors you’ve seen elsewhere but can’t quite place justIMG_0909 where. Dan Stevens plays “the guest”, and he does a great job of going from friendly to menacing in seconds flat. Maika Monroe plays the younger sister of the deceased solider and the one that begins to suspect “the guest” isn’t who he says he is. She’s great in this role, as she isn’t an idiot and seems to do things that someone with common sense would do. Monroe was also the lead in the great indie horror film It Follows. I look forward to seeing her in more. She reminds me of Brie Larson, an actress I also think is wonderful. Lance Reddick, from The Wire and Fringe, and an actor that is underused(and has also done some great shorts for Funny or Die) also does a great job as the Government heavy. The true moment of genius is the end. I won’t spoil it for you, I’ll just say there’s a Halloween Dance, mirror maze, and smoke machines involved. Oh, and a soundtrack that is all gothic 80s tracks(including Love and Rockets.) It’s quite genius, really.

So if you haven’t seen The Guest, you should. But this isn’t even a review of the movie. I actually wanted to talk about the score to The Guest, which was written and performed by the always excellent Steve Moore. The synth wizard from Zombi did an incredible job with the score to this movie. I think he added that element of 80s slickness to the film that makes it feel like some lost late night cult flick, as opposed to an indie film from last year. Truth be told, it was the score I was privy to before the film. Mondo released the score earlier in the summer, and when I saw it was Steve Moore that did it I ordered it sight unseen. I’d remembered seeing the trailer for the movie on some other movie I was watching, but I didn’t think much of it honestly. Looked intriguing, but not enough for me to seek it out. Once I’d listened to the score a few times my interest peaked in watching the movie. I mean, if director Adam Wingard had the foresight to hire Steve Moore, then I at least owed the guy a viewing of his film. So when it popped up on Netflix I knew it was fate. My lousy Saturday morning was set.

So what’s the score sound like? It’s pretty low key synth. There’s some percussive moments to help build tension, but for the most part it’s Tangerine Dream territory. Atmospheric swaths of synth. It works as a standalone record and as a film score, which is always a good thing. I absolutely love Steve Moore’s work, and Zombi’s Escape Velocity is one of my favorite drum and synth records. Period. Moore takes his cues from John Carpenter, Tangerine Dream, and even a little Goblin here and there for good measure for The Guest and it works quite well.

I’m not sure how long this cold is going to hang around. The wife and I took my mom and dad out for dinner last night for my dad’s birthday. We went to the Bonefish Grill and it was amazing. I had my first lobster roll, while my wife had a 6 oz filet mignon and my parents both had the stuffed tilapia. I also had the best piece of key lime pie in my life. Overall, it was a wonderful time and some incredible food. Great laughs and it also felt good to treat my parents to a fabulous meal. I fell asleep on the floor of our living room about 45 minutes after we got home. Woke up this morning with a voice that sounded like Barry White. At least I slept well.

Time to listen to The Guest again. Maybe I’ll watch The Guest again, too. Or Adam Wingard’s other flick You’re Next.

Or maybe I’ll just take a nap.


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