The 3rd Guest (2022) Review
Evie (Nikki Kris, Clown Fear, Elsewhere) and Hart (Matthew T. Clark, Eyelet, Gaia) are a married ghost-hunting team. Years ago Evie lost her daughter Faith (Logan Laurel, Angel Girl, Vengeance Turns), to a rare blood disease. Something their agent Arn (Clint Carmichael, Zombae, Reed’s Point) is, much to her disgust, happy to play up in their publicity.
After a disturbing encounter at a book signing Arn gets them a job. Unfortunately when they meet the client, Margaret (Andrea M. Anderson, Fake, Emotional Labor) she is even more disturbing, acting strangely and claiming, among other things, she may have cursed their souls. Whether or not that’s true, her face does appear in a mirror, smiling as she watches them in bed.
If it wasn’t for that shot it would be entirely too tempting to write Evie off as certifiably crazy by the end of The 3rd Guest’s first act. She’s supposed to be troubled by the death of her daughter but writer/director Sean Patrick Cannon (Girl Games, Total Knockouts) has her so unstable she’s constantly going from tears to laughter or from anger to “Let’s get inside and fuck” in the blink of an eye. When she wakes up and thinks she hears Faith’s voice it sets her off on a paranoid rant about hidden cameras and microphones.
Of course, if that were the case we’d be watching The Rental rather than a haunted house movie. And there is an evil spirit, that of a magician named Karlov (Joseph Lopez, Necropolis: Legion, A Joint Custody Christmas) who had a habit of murdering children and spawned a cult of followers. Evie begins having visions of him and her daughter.
Unfortunately, none of this is the least bit scary or disturbing, in fact, it’s all rather predictable. Evie hears voices and has sudden visions. Which, since the budget doesn’t provide for special effects are simply an old man standing by a child, or people lying down, presumably dead. Beyond that, The 3rd Guest gives us a bartender who is a fan of their books but stops talking to Evie when she tells her why she and Hart are in town. When they try to leave the car won’t start. They both become increasingly agitated and Hart eventually becomes violent with Evie.
We’ve seen this all before, some of it quite often, and usually done better. It doesn’t help that the house the couple is investigating is one of the least atmospheric settings I’ve seen in a genre film. The filmmakers would have been better off taking advantage of the forest surrounding the house for some night shots. But, considering how threadbare the production looks, lighting shots like that may not have been in the budget either.
Granted, in its last half hour The 3rd Guest does go off in a strange direction, but there’s no real logic to any of it. With the presence of the sinister old magician and the post-credits scene, it feels as if Cannon was trying to emulate the nightmare logic style of Phantasm. But Karlov is no Tall Man, and Cannon is no Coscarelli so rather than mind-bending, the last half hour becomes a mind-numbing cascade of false endings that makes no sense and explain nothing. At one point Evie asks how something happened and is told she’s better off not knowing, apparently that goes for the audience too.
The 3rd Guest really needed another set of rewrites and another round of crowdfunding before it went before the cameras. As it stands it lacks the ideas to stand out in a crowded genre, and even if it did, it lacked the budget to bring them to life.