The Guest

Wow. 2021 is starting strong, isn’t it? But let’s not discuss all those things, not here, at least. I’m working on an entirely different platform to unload stuff. So, anyway, these past couple of days I managed to sit down in the couch and just relax. It’s been a while since the last time I did and it really felt good, to be honest, just to sit there and not think about anything at all.

It also happened to be the first time I turned on the TV and watch something, anything that peaked my interest. And there I found streaming in Netflix, the Korean horror-drama, The Guest.

The description fascinated me and a particular scene related to the description caught my wife’s attention mid-series. A psychic, a priest, and a detective, working together. My wife asked what’s happening, why are the three of them together, what binds them?

So yes, The Guest is about a psychic, a Catholic priest, and a detective, who all experienced a childhood trauma together. I was hooked and I blazed through all 16 episodes. It’s spooky and heavy, both heartbreaking and heartwarming, and once-in-a-while, hilarious.

Without giving away too much, it’s about a powerful evil spirit who starts by terrorizing a small rural community. And yes, things escalate.

I found the story fully engaging but what makes the entire show shine are the constant buddy swaps in plenty of episodes, fully exploring the dynamics of each character. You will also notice that the only times you can breath and feel safe are times when characters are eating. Food is an essence of life, after all.

A big highlight should fall on the plot twists that curves around here and there and then suddenly zigzags left and right, up and down, and sideways and all-ways. The lengths of misdirecting is crazy and I should say, pretty fun. Not a typical red herring. Tiny clues are scattered throughout the show, mostly in some of the most innocent-looking scenes.

It can be bloody, but never gory, and all it’s scares rely on atmosphere and mood than jumpscares, which is my preferred horror style. Jumpscares are fun, but not really what I’m looking for in horror shows. The horror in The Guest explores evil and how evil can drive people to do inhumane acts, and that, sometimes, evil is just evil, and there’s no explanation about it nor does it require external forces.

It also has a powerful soundtrack. Listen:

It’s like a Digimon song. When it starts rolling, you know some evil spirit is about to get their asses kicked.

I do have a few nitpicks though. Chunks of the penultimate and final episodes tried to do too much. Yes, things escalated and then Escalated, but it kind of felt too much, not in an overwhelming sense, but a lot in an underwhelming sense, if that makes any sense. Particularly in the penultimate and in the first At some point, the direction of the story becomes a little predictable, but in a good way as a viewer, you seem to piece together the events of why certain things happened. It would have been great and made a lot sense, showing how far and deep evil can manipulate the world. But, this direction suddenly sidesteps, and the end result tended to be duller in what appears to be an attempt, to focus more on the main-main character, for the sake of focusing on the main-main character. This little sidestep caused a total abandonment of a major storyline that was closely related to the main story. However, given how the show progressed, it nods to viewers (at least to me) that this storyline will have a satisfying conclusion, albeit, offscreen.

It’s already been a couple of days and show has lingered in me. It’s great and should be given a try.

Other shows on my list: Cobra Kai Season 3, and I’ll have my thoughts out soon. I’m also checking out Sweet Home, another Korean show, and tempted to try Alice in Borderland, a Japanese horror series, which is apparently based on a manga. I have a ton of other shows I want to finish, more hoping to start, but whenever that comes, I’ll let you know.

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