Finn’s review published on Letterboxd:
I find myself seeing more and more dream-like scenarios in films, and frankly it's starting to get on my nerves.
In Man of Steel, the trucker is sexist in public, so the good guy serves him justice.
In Taxi Driver, the good guy stumbles upon a robbery, so he serves him justice.
In The Guest, the kid is bullied in public, so the good guy serves them justice.
These are the sort of thing that makes you a superhero in your head. It detracts from the film when the filmmakers insert some scene that so obviously is there for the sole purpose to make the good guy look good. I can't help but notice these more and more as directors seem to think they're a good idea. They're not.
After finishing The Guest, I noticed it drew thematic elements from multiple things, but it did not execute any of those elements better than their source material.
Sadly, The Guest falls flat in a long portion of its runtime, due to amateur mistakes, poor acting, or just flat-out lazy filmmaking. Which is a shame, because this film holds a great amount of potential.
I'll just list a few of the things that were done wrong.
The use of its soundtrack was abysmal. It didn't fit the moment well at all, and sounded like someone left their Hotline Miami playlist on in the background, rather than a score made specifically for the film.
The 'twist' involving the main character was lazily told through obvious exposition.
The color palette and visual editing is about as lazy as a student film on youtube. You cannot lower the warmth of the frame and call it a movie.
I don't think it was ever exactly explained why the main character wanted to help the family.
Why is it that a highly trained operative force couldn't deal with their experiment even with the element of surprise, but 2 children in a gymnasium could?
Why didn't the operatives bring more than a few people?
Why did the black guy feel the need to tell all of the background information to the girl in the car, despite telling her on the phone that it was all top secret?
Despite this, the first act/half was actually done incredibly well, and the slight tension was received perfectly. Even with the second half being terrible, it was entertaining and it had soul, which is more than I can say for at least half of the movies I see these days. I liked the relationship between the siblings, but that's about it.