“ Actors: David Hyde Pierce, Clayne Crawford, Nathaniel Parker, Tyrees Allen, Cooper Barnes / Director: Nick Tomnay / Writers: Nick Tomnay, Krishna Jones / Producers: Mark Victor, Martin Zoland, Rick Feder, Sarah Johnson, Stacey Testro / Studio: Magnolia / Released: 30 Aug 2011 / Run Time: 93 minutes „
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I was recommended this film by a friend who knows I love psychological thrillers, though his biggest bonus to the film was the fact that Dr Niles Crane from Frasier was in it! I'm really glad I gave it a watch because despite not knowing what to expect, this was quite original, engaging and overall an enjoyable flick.
This was directed, and in part written, by Nick Tomnay, who has worked on just a couple of things but they're quite small and nothing I recognise. The Host is also designed as a short piece, and doesn't seem to have had much, if any, mainstream popularity, which is a shame. This seems to be a little tricky to come across in European format and so I'd say it's more of a cult flick, or at least has the potential to be. As I've mentioned, this falls roughly in to the psychological thriller genre, with a small hint of comedy I would say in places, but on the whole, it's an intriguing twister thriller.
We're introduced to John Taylor, a thief whose most recent bank robbery goes south, leaving him only able to hobble around on his injured foot whilst he tries to bide time as his face is now all over the news as a wanted criminal. Knowing he needs to keep a low profile he uses his initiative, as he has little else at hand, and tries to blag his way in to someone's house. He claims that a friend of a friend told him to drop by at any time and so he did because he was in the area, but unfortunately for him she's still away on holiday. Could he please come in and wait for his friend to pick him up? Taylor manages convinces the man who opens the door, Warwick Wilson, to let him inside and wait for said friend. It's a genius little scam that seems to have been bought hook, line and sinker
Wilson is ever the gentleman and offers Taylor a drink whilst he busies himself for a rather perfectionist dinner party. The guests haven't arrived yet but Wilson is convinced Taylor would love them and insists he stays. Neither man really knows each other, but soon Warwick Wilson learns of who John is and isn't pleased. Except, neither is John when it turns out Warwick isn't all he appears either. Underneath the generous, well-spoken exterior is anger and something quite unexpected. The prognosis for the dinner party doesn't look good. I won't say any more on the premise because it really is something you need to watch and saying more than 'all's not quite as it seems' would give it away.
The premise itself was intriguing and quite original, fitting well in to the psychological thriller genre. From the outset we're shown one perspective, and then another angle opens up, keeping us guessing because it wasn't a predictable run of the mill type affair. Perfect Guest was able to come across as being quite understated yet clever, not overusing celebrity status or sparkle, but instead delivering a creative plot and characters in their own right. By the end of the film I was left feeling satisfied by the premise and experience overall, without wanting something more or feeling like there were too many loose ends.
The pace was moderate, because at times the film had an almost quiet feel to it, playing heed to the suspicion and creepiness lying under the surface in wait. I didn't, however, find myself getting bored at any time. Instead, the slower aspects built the tension and gave way to outbursts that kept me on my toes. Watching this also made me think about people, surface appearances, what goes on inside peoples' homes. I found it equally quite emotive, feeling for both main characters for different reasons, so the film was obviously doing something right.
Perfect Guest overall had a good quality feel to it but one, like I said, that felt quite understated. Although it's little known and designed as a short piece, it didn't feel like a budget or made for TV movie. The script, scenes and direction all came together well and gave the film a well-rounded feel to it. There was a hint of comedy in parts thanks to Pierce playing Wilson as the creepy, off-key loner, which didn't detract from the creepiness but rather simply added to it and lightened it up a bit. I wouldn't say the film was hard going either; whilst it may be a psychological thriller, there wasn't anything to really confuse us nor anything too complex to keep up with, making it smooth and easy to watch.
The cast included David Hyde Pierce as the protagonist (Warwick Wilson), Clayne Crawford (John Taylor), Tyrees Allen (Roman), Megahn Perry (Simone) and Cooper Barnes (Rupert) amongst others. I like Crawford and have seen him in one of two things previously, such as The Baytown Outlaws which I recently reviewed. Pierce is obviously very well known as Dr Niles Crane from Frasier and I found him to be excellent in Perfect Guest; the well-spoken perfectionist hiding a dark mentality, balanced perfectly in a creepy, intriguing way. Whilst other characters were involved, such as the dinner guests, the show is taken by Warwick and John, and together they brought their respective roles to life in a realistic and gripping way.
I believe this flick was actually selected at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival, which reflects my feeling that this is more of an underground, lesser known piece.
All in all this is one I would recommend if you can get your hands on it. It's a little different to the norm, gripping and engaging, well-acted especially by Pierce and one I remembered and thought about after watching.
DVD released 2011, running time 93 minutes
Selling on Amazon for £7.58 (region 1)