The power of cinema so that a more or less everyday act pushes the human being to think twice before repeating the experience – legal, of course, but with aspects of enormous complexity, be it for questions of morality, susceptibility, scruples, or pure practice—, has in Fatal Attraction one of its paradigms. So much so that it led to two thoughtful phrases in two other later films, Something to remember and Four weddings and a funeral, that summed up that impression after seeing the consequences of the adultery of the character of Michael Douglas with that of Glenn Close: every man in the world had been so frightened by the possibility that a possible flurry would end like that, with his daughter’s pet stuck in a pot, that infidelities decreased exponentially.
The feeling is similar in the small but effective American film Guarded, Dave Franco’s directorial debut, with another very widespread practice: renting a private flat or house, converted into tourist accommodation. How many times when selecting accommodation for a few days have you come across a heavenly site that seemed to have a trick due to its modest price? And that’s where the story of Franco, also a co-writer, comes in when two couples reserve for a weekend an isolated dream house that will turn into hell.
Classic Peeping Tom with a Hitchcockian Point, Although without the acid look of the teacher’s perfidy, the film is enough with a handful of equivocal notes in the four characters and in the situations to create tension from the script: the always disturbing previous step of being accepted (or not) by the application for rent; the xenophobia of the host; the equivocal roll crossed between both couples; and adultery as a customary fact in one of the men.
The director’s staging runs away from bombast and aims at the simplicity of classical inspiration, which honors him, but the outcome lacks some tension and also a little imagination. Still, it’s vigorous enough to terrify, at least as a concept. Sure that Guarded will not have the wide commercial path of Fatal Attraction, but perhaps more than one is thinking of a hotel for this summer, compared to the formula of hosts and guests.