Host Review: Top-Notch Socially Distanced Horror
Updated: Apr 17
Dir: Rob Savage
Release Date: 2020
“Six friends hire a medium to hold a séance via Zoom during lockdown, but they get far more than they bargained for as things quickly go wrong.”
Earlier this month, Ken B Wild and I released our Top 5 list of the best films we had watched in 2020
Host was one of them.
Shot entirely during the Covid-19 pandemic, it is based on a previous viral video the director, Rob Savage, had made and is just a brilliantly fun watch, which is no mean feat considering the found footage genre has been flogged to within an inch of its life the past 20+ years by films attempting to cash in on low-budget success stories such as The Blair Witch Project and Paranormal Activity. A quick look through your Netflix or Amazon Prime horror sections will give ample examples of this.
Host will have you harking back to the above mentioned films for all the right reasons and rises above all of those sub par efforts thanks to clever use of online video/web conferencing app - Zoom and a pitch perfect performance from the cast.
Watch the trailer below! SPOILERS after the jump as we dive deeper into the films plot!
Right then off we go!
We join 6 friends who are participating in an online séance during the current Covid-19 pandemic. Preposterous? Yes. Would I ever do it? Absolutely not. But hey, just go with it!
Haley - The host of the zoom chat and takes the séance seriously as fuck.
Jemma - There just to piss Haley off I think.
Emma - Never met a face filter she didn't like.
Caroline - Fancies Teddy and has a dad who likes to show his tits to his daughters friends over the internet.
Radina - Argues with her new boyfriend a lot. He does seem a dick to be fair.
Teddy - Has a girlfriend the rest of the group hate even more than his man-bun hairstyle.
As soon as everyone joins the call we get Seylan, who is the psychic medium, she has asked them all to bring a "trigger object" - an item closely connected with a person they might want to speak to that has passed on.
Prize for creepiest item goes to Teddy who brings along his Nan's old musical box complete with slow turning ballerina inside. There's no way that isn't coming into play later on in the film.
Things start jovially enough with the lighting of candles as a guiding focus for the spirits and, for the less serious members of the group such as Teddy, we have shots of alcohol being drank every time the psychic medium says the words "astral plane", much to the annoyance of Haley. And of course, slowly but surely, creepy things start to happen.
I won't say every scare lands but the ones that do really do it well such as Caroline's video background jump scare, Emma's face filter app picking up an invisible face which turns to look right at her, Radina's boyfriend disappearing from the bedroom followed by his subsequent reappearance from the ceiling later and Teddy, who also disappears for a fair chunk of the movie after his girlfriend steals him away, re-joining the Zoom call just in time to give us the best death scene in the film complete with previously mentioned creepy musical box!
Does the film find clever ways to get round the limitations of all found footage movies? No it doesn't. No one turns a single light on despite the fact all this shit is happening and yes they all carry their laptops through the house despite being chased by a ghost but do you know why they do that? Cause if not we'd all be sitting there looking at empty rooms for the last 25 minutes and where's the fun in that?
With the film only being 57 minutes long it leaves no room for it to outstay its welcome and the pace doesn't let up once it gets going. I finished this film feeling genuinely creeped out which was helped along massively by the effective jump scare right at the end of the movie.
I'd highly recommend anyone who's a fan of horror to give this a watch. As I would with many other titles currently available on Shudder. Bad Movie Cult are not affiliated with Shudder in anyway either. It's just a genuine recommendation!
The DVD/Blu-Ray of Host will be released in February 2021 for all you out there who still prefer owning the physical media.
FAVOURITE CHARACTER: Caroline's dad. He was just happy to be there the old boy!
FAVOURITE MOMENT: The end jump scare was well done.
FAVOURITE LINE: Not a line but the "Astral Plane" drinking game scene.
FAVOURITE DEATH: Teddy's girlfriend neck snap followed by Teddy himself being set on fire.