[Review] Guest 2 (2023): A Dark Entity Comes Calling in Gripping U.K. Horror Short

In my review of writer/director Finn Callan’s 2020 U.K. horror short Guest, I called the film “a nerve-jangling new supernatural creation” that “is ripe for a feature-length treatment.” Although that feature has not come to pass yet, Callan follows up that initial work with a new 40-minute sequel, Guest 2 (U.K., 2023), which builds on Callan’s mythology in a chilling way. 

Guest 2 finds Jill (Jennifer English) having to cover for her brother Ethan (Simon Bigg) in preparing a support group meeting. The siblings share a flat together, and Ethan didn’t do any of the chores that Jill had asked of him, instead remaining quietly behind his closed bedroom door. Frustrated with her brother’s inactivity, she goes to the support group, sets up, and listens to the attendees, one of whom is Mia (Natasha Biggs), who has unsuccessfully tried to make contact with friends and acquaintances and is overcome with loneliness. Mia has been haunted by an eerie figure during her despair. As Jill and Mia make a connection, viewers are further immersed into the dark workings of the strange presence.

Callan has crafted a short that blends the supernatural with the real-life horrors of depression and suicidal thoughts. It’s strong stuff that will leave viewers with much to mull over. The dialogue is realistic, the performances are gripping, and the feeling of dread is palpable. Hair, Makeup, SFX & Prosthetics Designer Georgia Nicole Paxton gives a decidedly creepy look to The Guest (Anna Fraser).

The best works of horror cinema boast stirring drama that immerses viewers in terrifying situations. Guest 2 absolutely fits that bill, and is the kind of fright fare that truly works on the emotions.

4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

Joseph Perry
Joseph Perry fell in love with horror films as a preschooler when he first saw the Gill-Man swim across the TV screen in "The Creature from The Black Lagoon" and Mothra battle Godzilla in "Godzilla Vs. The Thing.” His education in fright fare continued with TV series such as "The Twilight Zone" and "Outer Limits," along with legendary northern California horror host Bob Wilkins’ "Creature Features." His love for silver age and golden age comic books, including horror titles from Gold Key, Dell, and Marvel started around age 5.

He is a contributing writer for the "Phantom of the Movies VideoScope" and “Drive-In Asylum” print magazines and the websites Horror Fuel, Diabolique Magazine, The Scariest Things, B&S About Movies, and When It Was Cool. He is a co-host of the "Uphill Both Ways" pop culture nostalgia podcast and also writes for its website. Joseph occasionally proudly co-writes articles with his son Cohen Perry, who is a film critic in his own right.

A former northern Californian and Oregonian, Joseph has been teaching, writing, and living in South Korea since 2008.