We Watch it for the Music | The Guest

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We Watch it for the Music | The Guest

Eric Cooper

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The Guest is a 2014 thriller, directed and edited by Adam Wingard and written by Simon Barrett. If you are a fan of Drive or Only God Forgives, you will more than likely enjoy this movie but, you will definitely love the soundtrack.

The plot is relatively simple: ex-military soldier must deliver a message from a fellow soldier, Caleb, who is now deceased, to that soldier’s family (Luke and Anna were his siblings). However, the overall aesthetic, the mood, the vibe, the ambiance, of this movie is nothing short of impeccable (and the soundtrack is even better).

A legend among the legendary 80’s NYC club scene, hardcore-punk enthusiast Mike Simonetti, is the first feature on the soundtrack with his piece “The Magician”. Much like David, the synth in this track is subdued, mechanical, yet malevolent. It perfectly articulates the already palpable suspense as David sits with Luke in the bar, preparing to castigate Luke’s bullies.

Hourglass” by S U R V I V E, a Texan analog synth-core four-piece, follows immediately after, further crafting the Drive/Refn soundtrack aesthetic which, formulaic as it may seem, wields astounding results when applied correctly. The intensity of this track perfectly foreshadows the impending destruction as David, entertainingly, buys “blowjob shots” for Luke’s bullies’ girlfriends while supplying the bullies with cosmopolitans.

Masked, Swedish electronic duo F.O.O.L. showcase their synth rhythm mastery with their track “SaharA” during another hilarious scene in which David, played by Dan Stevens (best known for his role as Matthew Crawley in Downton Abbey), frenches a fresh blunt with ease at a Halloween house party.

Clan Of Xymox contributes the first ballad of the movie with their darkwave track “Masquerade” which sets the mood for the sexual tension between goth girl Anna and ex-military psychopath David, a match apparently made in heaven (hell?) as David says “I like this music” and Anna offers to make him a mixtape “if you wanted…” she says.

German contemporaries of Soft Cell, 80’s New German Wave group D.A.F. contribute the song “Alles Ist Gut to the soundtrack which plays as David pursues his victims inside of a Halloween spook house. This track perfectly showcases D.A.F.’s mastery of the analog synth, rhythmic and harmonic subtleties, and impeccable aesthetic (much like the film in which it appears).

The final song to play during the film is “Anthonio (Berlin Breakdown Version) by Annie, which plays as Anna and David shoot, stab, and strangle each other until Luke interrupts their romance by stabbing David with the Swiss Army knife that was given to him by David for Luke to use against his bullies.

 
Although to some it may seem formulaic or a copycat of Refn’s renowned style, The Guest’s chic style comes with a grain of salt. But, the selections on its soundtrack are all either cult classics or diamonds in the rough and are sure to stick with you well after the movie.