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Movie Reviews

‘The Guest Room’ review: Trippy thriller has heart in the right place but doesn’t know what to do with it

Blast from the past.

The Guest Room (La Stanza) has a striking opening. A woman dressed in what looks to be a wedding gown stands before an open full length window. As heavy rain falls, the doorbell rings at which time, things become more intriguing. The man at the door says he has rented the guest room. He also seems to know Stella (the woman). When Sandro, the man who broke Stella’s heart, arrives, the stranger (Giulio) begins to reveal secrets about the two.

There is tension between Stella and Giulio. While she never seems to be in danger, something is off about him. He knows too much and makes himself too comfortable. Trying to work out his ulterior motive is the initial draw to The Guest Room. Chaos breaks out almost immediately after all three people are in the house (the trio comprise the entire cast). After releasing some information about Sandro, Giulio tells Stella a shocking fact about himself. This twist will throw audiences off and moves the story in a new direction. 

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It is a startling moment that does not have the intended effect. A lot that can be done from a narrative standpoint, and the initial jolt works well. This quickly wears off as The Guest Room goes with lots of expositions that explains little. The Guest Room is filled with themes of regret, acceptance, and family, but nothing is given time to set in. The plot does a good job telling a streamlined story, but that same story can be confusing. Since the movie does not take time to explain the twist, this means viewers are left wondering what is happening instead of getting caught up in the emotions of the moment.

Granted, the more fantastical elements are not the most important part of the film. This is a story that wants to make viewers feel something. This is most evident in the final which  goes all in emotionally. It is clear what The Guest Room is trying to do; it just does not work. Does this make it a bad watch? Not at all. Even though there is not a deep attachment to the characters, there is the suspense that organically comes with the situation. There are also scenes that work on a visceral level. The Guest Room just lacks emotional heft.

The Guest Room is available on VOD October 25

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