A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
There's no real message here, except maybe "be careful who you let in your house."
Positive Role Models
David may be alluring and commanding -- and may seem to have all the answers -- but he's far too violent and insane to be a role model.
Violence & Scariness
A violent rampage includes stabbing, shooting, spurts of blood, bloody wounds, grenades, explosions, and car crashes. There are also a couple of fast-paced fight scenes, with a character beating others into unconsciousness in just a few seconds, sometimes pausing to break a leg or two. Some school bullies pick on a teen boy, slamming him up against a metal locker. The boy fights one of the bullies in class, punching and hitting him with a yardstick.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
The main character has sex with a girl at a party. She removes her top and shows her breasts. A teen girl is seen in her underwear, and the main character emerges from the shower wearing only a towel, showing off his chest. A teen girl kisses her boyfriend at night. There's a drink called a "blow job shot."
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Strong language includes multiple uses of "f--k," "p---y," "ass," "s--t," and "f----t."
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
The father seems to have a drinking problem; he guzzles down booze (both beer and whisky) as soon as he gets home and drinks until he goes to sleep. Teens regularly smoke pot. The main teen girl refuses to smoke at first but eventually joins in at a "kegger" party. Teens also drink beer at the party. One of the secondary characters is a drug dealer.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The Guest is a thriller about a mysterious and potentially violent guest; a teen brother and sister are the main protagonists. Violence is strong but not particularly realistic -- a highly trained specialist beats up, shoots, stabs, and otherwise kills several characters. Blood sprays, and bloody wounds are shown. There's one sex scene, with a topless female shown, as well as characters in seductive states of partial undress. Language includes many uses of "f--k," "p---y," "f----t," and other terms. Teens regularly smoke pot (and drink beer in one scene), one character is a drug dealer, and the father appears to have a drinking problem. Teen horror fans will know the director, Adam Wingard, and others may be drawn in by star Dan Stevens, of Downton Abbey fame. While it's a thrill ride that's not meant to be taken seriously, it's still too edgy for all but the oldest teens. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
It's a good-looking production, as opposed to director Adam Wingard's previous films' jerky, ugly feel. With his earlier films, including V/H/S, V/H/S/2, and You're Next, it appeared that Wingard wasn't much more than a horror fan happily paying tribute to the films he liked, without any real interest becoming his own filmmaker. But with THE GUEST, he's finally stepped up and created something that feels skillful and resonant.
For the first time in Wingard's work, death means something. Departed soldier Caleb affects everyone else. The characters are all wounded, and Wingard seems to sympathize with them; it makes sense that they would turn to David for relief. In the part, Stevens (from Downton Abbey) is clearly not sane, but he's also mesmerizing. Building on this, Wingard creates a story out of fascinating, prickly human interactions. The movie has its share of crazy thrills, but it's the characters that really make it work.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.