The Guest Room

10/31/2022 06:20

Film: The Guest Room (La stanza)

Year: 2021

Director: Stefano Lodovichi

Writers: Stefano Lodovichi, Francesco Agostini and Filippo Gili

Starring: Guido Caprino, Camilla Filippi and Edoardo Pesce



This is a movie that I got the chance to see thanks to Justin Cook who sent over the screener. I’ll be honest, I hadn’t heard anything about this one until getting that e-mail. This is a foreign film, so that is part of it. Outside of knowing the title and that was horror, that was about the extent.

Synopsis: on the morning Stella (Camilla Filippi) decides to take her own life, a stranger knocks at her door claiming that he booked her guest room for the night. Surprised but charmed by this man, she lets him in. But when Sandro (Edoardo Pesce), the man who broke her heart, joins them at home, this odd situation turns immediately into chaos.

We start this with seeing Stella standing on the ledge of an open window. She is in a wedding dress. It is raining and she is about to jump. Something pulls her out of her trance. There is a bell ringing. She gets down and goes to the front door. She opens it to find Giulio (Guido Caprino). He is soaked and claims that he rented the guest room. She states that it isn’t unavailable as she doesn’t rent it out. This was something her husband did and he’s not there. Giulio is quite convincing and gets inside, asking for a glass of water.

Giulio says some interesting things that soften Stella. She agrees to let him stay. They go up to the room and she must move some things. She heads off get fresh linens for it. We get the idea that she was going to kill herself and this man inadvertently stopped it. We will learn that it is due to Sandro leaving her. One of things Giulio said was that he was going to stop by. This gives her hope.

Stella does call Sandro and scolds him for renting the room. This might not be the case though. Sandro shows up, just as confused. He questions if Stella confirmed his reservation, which she didn’t. Giulio is lying about things. This strange man has other plans. His identity is confusing and it becomes a nightmare this family will never forget.

That is where I’m going to leave my recap and introduction to the characters. I’ll be honest, I took you right up to the point of a major reveal and I don’t want to give away what it is. We play with interesting elements here. The first thing that I want to bring up is that this was probably made during the pandemic. It is using to its advantage. This is a contained story that works well within its confines. This blends drama with home invasion and even a bit of sci-fi in there. How well it works together kept me intrigued to the end.

Where I want to start would be with the characters. Stella is our lead and I think she gives us the most. I’ll give credit to the performance by Filippi. What I like with this opening sequence was that I knew what her plan was and that she was depressed. The staging of the shot helps there, but she looks like someone who is just done. There are glimpses of hope that we see from there. It is there with different things that Giulio says or when Sandro shows up. These are shot amazing. Without spoiling, what I’ll say is that Sandro left her. We will learn that he started a new family. His explanation seems to be that Stella expected a lot and he wasn’t ready. She loved him too much. I can feel her pain and it makes sense. I like the growth we get from her character from there.

I’m then going to lump Giulio and Sandro together from here. The former is a terrifying man. We don’t know a lot about him. When he’s alone, we see scary things. This can be in the form of unpacking his bag or finding a hole in the wall of his room. He just does things that we notice, but Stella doesn’t. He is there for a good reason. I do have to say that. It is misguided though. Sandro is also an interesting character. He had a child with Stella but has since left her to start a new family. I feel for Stella. It also isn’t good to just stay for the child. This is a messy dynamic. He should be present to an extent, but as I said, it is hard when Stella loves him as much as she does. I’ll give credit to Caprino, Pesce and the rest of the cast here as well. The others are limited as these three carry it.

Since I’m not going into spoilers, the last bits of the story that I wanted to bring up are this. Giulio does have a good reason to be there. Part of it is to punish Sandro for hurting Stella. There is more to it than that. There is a vested interest. Stella has her son to think about, but her depression is making her selfish. This is quite sad to learn that she has a child in the other room as she prepares to go through with her plan. There are two things here. I understand the depression that she is going through. This is quite selfish though. Depression makes you do things you might not otherwise. She isn’t thinking of the effect it will have on her son. It almost seems like she wants to hurt Sandro with her plan. That is misguided as well. The reason for this home invasion correlates here. It also was something that shocked me and made me wonder if Giulio is telling the truth. That would go into spoilers though to flesh out so I’ll avoid that.

Then the last things to go into would be with the filmmaking. I’d say that the cinematography is good. They capture that dark and dreary feel that Stella is experiencing. You can tell she is our star with how this matches her depression. I liked this being contained within this large house/apartment. There are some limited effects that looked to be done practical. What we get here is good. Other than that, I thought the soundtrack and design of the movie were solid. It fit for what was needed. I also like hearing yelling off screen as that helps to ramp up the tension as well.

In conclusion, this movie has a depressing feel that I enjoyed. It does well in establishing our lead in Stella. We subtly get different things about her. The more that gets revealed, the more I was sucked into where this is going. An interesting blend of character study with drama, home invasion and even a bit of sci-fi. Acting was good across the board. I thought this was a well-made, contained film which I’m a fan of. I’m not sure this will be for everyone, but this was a quick watch that sucked me in with familiar elements used in a bit different way. Be advised, this is from Italy so I watched it with subtitles on.


My Rating: 7.5 out of 10