The Guest

Rated 3.0

Adam Wingard's genre-defying The Guest is a trickier movie to dance around than Gone Girl, not due to any world-shattering plot twists, but because The Guest so resolutely resists the comforts of context. In an anonymous small town, a soft-spoken, steely-eyed ex-soldier named David appears at the door of a grieving suburban family, claiming to have known their recently deceased son. When pictures confirm his identity, the family invites David to stay, but their guest comes under suspicion when bodies start piling up. There is a stony ambivalence to the way that the film refuses to build a coherent mythology, and the script weaves intimations of PTSD-related horror into the story in interesting ways. But most of that is dropped in the final stretch, and while you can practically hear Wingard and screenwriter Simon Barrett giggling with self-satisfaction from behind the camera, the ending feels like a shrug. D.B.