Sometimes, there are characters in genre pictures that are so darned righteous and awesome, you can’t stop thinking about them or their amazing feats long after the movie is over. This column is dedicated to those cinematic bad-asses that keep us coming back for more. And this one is going to be a controversial pick. First and foremost, I have to say up front that this is going to get pretty spoiler heavy, just by the sheer nature of who I’m choosing. So, if you haven’t seen THE GUEST yet, stop reading right now, find it ASAP, watch it and then come back. No, seriously. It’s awesome. You have to see it right now. Go ahead, I’ll wait. It’s on Netflix Instant, so do it.
Great! You’re back!
Now that we’ve all seen THE GUEST, I’m giving all my #RESPECT to David Collins as played by Dan Stevens. Technically, he’s the “villain” of the movie, but that doesn’t mean he can’t be the most likable & coolest character in the film either.
In THE GUEST, the mysterious David shows up on the doorstep of the Peterson family claiming to have served with their son Caleb. He’s just there to check up on the family as a promise he made to his fallen friend. But in a very short time period, he’s able to assimilate himself into the Peterson household. Laura Peterson (Sheila Kelley) naturally is still in mourning over her son so having David there is her way of holding on to him. He quickly wins over Spencer Peterson (the great Leland Orser) who vents to David about the unfair nature of his dead-end job over beers. And he immediately forms a brotherly kindship with the young, shy, awkward Luke (Brendan Meyer), Caleb’s younger brother. The only person that’s skeptical of David is Anna (IT FOLLOWS’ Maika Monroe).
It becomes obvious to Anna fairly early on that perhaps David isn’t what he says he is. And once one of her friends turns up dead with her stoner boyfriend to blame, she opens up Pandora’s box by digging into David’s shady past.
Now, the thing about great “villains” is that they never consider themselves to be the bad guy in the movie. They are just portraying the events from the perspective of their character. So in that sense, in my humble opinion, David never actually does anything drastically wrong. Sure, he eventually goes on a murdering rampage, but let’s back up a second!
As writer Simon Barrett once said about the story of the movie, it asks the question “what if Captain America went wrong?” We know David was part of an experiment that made him super strong and impervious. He escaped his confinement where he was realistically probably treated like a lab rat, by faking his death and seeking refuge with the family of his best friend from the Army. As soon as he becomes a part of the Peterson family, he takes care of them! He helps Spencer get that promotion he’s always wanted. He becomes a surrogate brother to Luke, sticks up for him and teaches him to defend himself. I mean, you can’t deny the greatest scene of the movie is David beating the absolute shit out of a bunch of bullies after sending them over “blowjob” shots at the bar. And all to this awesome song by S.U.R.V.I.V.E.
Honestly, the entire “Terminator” rampage wasn’t his fault. It was simply part of his programming. If anyone discovered anything about the “program” or what they did to him, he’d be conditioned to eliminate all loose ends. So in that regard… it’s all kind of Anna’s fault. Had she not called the Army and done some digging on David, I’m pretty sure her parents would still be alive. So really, who is the bad guy here?
Even in his final moments, he congratulates Luke for doing what he had to do. Come on, man. For that exchange alone, David gets all my respect. He’s the definition of cinematic bad-ass.
Also, now that you’ve already seen the movie, check out this spoiler-heavy redux trailer cut together by HOBO WITH A SHOTGUN director Jason Eisner. By the end of it, there will be absolutely no doubt that he totally deserves this hashtag.
David Collins, or whatever your name is…