BY ANDREW OKE
The Domestic thriller is a sub-genre that regularly finds it’s way to cinemas and constantly frustrates cinema goers for its lack of originality and plain old baffling stupidity. If ever there was a genre that needed to go the way of the western, it is this. Riddled with clichés and predictable beats that cause its collective audience to play the “guess what’s going to happen next” game and be right every single time. For reasons I cannot fathom, this sub-genre will not go away. It is like cinema’s stubborn rash; scrub it and put as many ointments as you like on it, it is staying put.
The Guest is a new entry to the domestic thriller catalogue and like all the other films that came before it (When the Bough Breaks; No Good Deed; Obsessed), it succeeds in wearing all the tropes of this genre like a badge of dishonour. Lola (Somkele Idhalama) and Bill (Femi Jacobs) are married with children and living a seemingly normal life filled with the ups and downs of marriage. Lola’s business is doing very well, causing her to spend less and less time with her needy husband who is furious that his wife’s success is taking away from their incredibly important coital schedule, because testosterone, I suppose. Their lives are further complicated when Nicki (Rita Dominic), their old friend, moves in with them after being deported from the U.K. and Lola leaves for Abuja to expand her business. Everything is fine at home until, Nicki gets a sinister plan to respect her friends’ marriage and not try to “snatch” Bill from Lola. I’m kidding. Nicki, as expected, decides to seduce Bill and steal him away from Lola. What comes next are the various beats and plot points that we have all seen before and have become used to with films such as this one: Nicki swimming in revealing clothing; Nicki and Bill having PG13 sex for the first time; and Nicki going crazy and murdering people. You know, like every other film in this genre ever. Maybe if Lola or Bill would stop bickering about sex and watch a movie once in a while, they would have seen this coming.
The Guest is a tasteless, empty and predictable movie that deserves to be sold on cheap Video CDs on the side of the road and not shown in a cinema. From the moment Rita Dominic’s Nicki steps on screen, it becomes very clear that the film is about to take the audience on a ride of disastrous proportions. Every word her character says and every look that character makes are obvious to the point of stupidity. The film is supposed to be a thriller and yet it is void of any form of suspense whatsoever. The characters in the film are recycled stereotypes that express the most basic level of humanity and betray themselves at every turn. Bill and Lola are supposed to be a smart and successful couple, but they regularly do things that are so stupid and they overlook so many glaring signs that you can only assume that they amassed such wealth and success in their businesses through corruption and sexual favours, not their wit.
This film is as predictable as they come. While I haven’t revealed any real spoilers here, I’m sure you already know how it ends. Written by Foluke Olaniyi (who also produced this film) from a story by both Foluke Olaniyi and the film’s director, Christian Olayinka, The Guest is a hodgepodge of other peoples’ ideas and stories from a genre that the writers obviously love too much to realize how useless it is. The writers don’t seem concerned with creating a thrilling story; they instead, choose to follow the flawed and excruciatingly annoying path played out by this genre’s previous films that, like this one, are absolutely unbearable.
Add to this, the terrible acting from Femi Jacobs, who, once again, has given a performance in a film where he talks like he doesn’t understand the words that are coming out of his own mouth. He pronounces the simplest of words like he has never heard them before. Not much can be said of the other performances in the film except for the fact that they were forgettable. I myself forgot Somkele Idhalama was in the film by the time I walked out of my screening and she’s on the movie’s poster.
To be fair, the performances were not helped by the horrendous sound recording and god awful ADR. But that is just one more reason why this film is a two-hour-long train wreck. There is nothing redeeming about this film. The only reason why anyone should watch The Guest is to see if they can accurately guess how the film will end, and if you’ve reached the end of this review, you probably already have.
SOMKELE IDHALAMA – Lola
FEMI JACOBS – Bill
RITA DOMINIC – Nicki
ANDREA CHIKA CHUKWU – Peggy
STORY – FOLUKE OLANIYI, CHRISTIAN OLAYINKA
SCREENPLAY – FOLUKE OLANIYI