Laura Peterson (Sheila Kelly) is delighted to play host to a young man, David (Dan Stevens), who was an Army buddy of her late son. Initially wary, her husband Spenser (Leland Orser) is also welcoming, and their son Luke (Brendan Meyer) hero-worships David when he emphatically deals with some bullies. Luke's sister, Anna (Maika Monroe), however, is not so charmed by David and even suspicious of him. Since The Guest is a thriller, after all, it will be no surprise that the complicated David is not exactly on the side of the angels, although his history and reasons for his behavior may or may not be revelatory. Dan Stevens [Dracula], playing a very different role than his "Matthew" on Downtown Abbey, convincingly suppresses his British accent and gives a very good performance, and he has fine support from the rest of the cast. The problem with The Guest is that it degenerates into a "mad slasher" movie when it could have been so much more, although the ending is ironic and satisfying in its way. But despite some entertainingly dramatic sequences the overall effect is still blah. Adam Wingard also directed You're Next, which was much livelier than this; his mistake was in overlaying that movie over The Guest.
Verdict: Beware of handsome strangers. **1/2.