It’s a big day for news involving Sundance buzz films. Earlier this afternoon we posted the trailer for Frank, an offbeat musical comedy that was one of the hits of this year’s festival, and then minutes later the news broke that Picturehouse will distribute You’re Next director Adam Wingard’s latest genre exercise, The Guest, one of Sundance’s most popular midnight films. Former Downton Abbey star Dan Stevens plays against type in The Guest as a strong, sexy super-soldier, who rolls into the middle-American small town of one of his KIA buddies and begins meddling in the lives of the locals. I saw The Guest at Sundance, and wrote the following about it:
The Guest is an overt John Carpenter homage, from the font on its opening credits to the minimalist score. It’s not a Carpenter rip-off, though, which is nice. … The movie keeps opening up, expanding from one small-town farmhouse to encompass a secret military base and a high school “Halloween maze,” where the final showdown takes place. And did I mention Dan Stevens? Because Holy B. God, is he ever a hoot. He gives one of those iconic badass performances—like Patrick Swayze in Road House—that’s all arched eyebrows, plastered smiles, smoky gazes, and cool dialogue delivered laconically.
I should add that I wasn’t that big a fan of the one-note You’re Next (aside from the Dwight Twilley song), but The Guest won me over early with its playfulness, and I’m fairly certain that it’s going to go over big with fans of cult horror and action. The movie should have a good home with Picturehouse, which was one of the classier indies of the 2000s, handling films like Pan’s Labyrinth, The King Of Kong, A Prairie Home Companion, and The Orphanage before shutting down in 2008. Recently revived with Metallica: Through The Never, it looks like Bob Berney’s company is planning to pick up where it left off, bringing special, hard-to-categorize indies to a wider audience.