Host follows in the footsteps of The Den, Paranormal Activity, and Searching. This type of filming has always intrigued me as it has the potential to hone in on the details of a story and view the pain and agony from one person’s viewpoint up close and personal. Searching and The Den accomplishes such. Unfriended attempted to take on what Host does but undelivered and underwhelmed most moviegoers at the time. However, at close to midnight, the day Host premiered on Shudder is when I decided it was a great time to watch the film. This moment was after seeing the following tweet on a comment thread I was a part of on Twitter.
I’m adding “Host” to this list now because it just got me while the sun is out and I was still a fraidy cat. Lol.
— Briandyman 🐝 (@brianscribeNY) July 30, 2020
As much as I wanted this movie to bring it, there was still a part of me that told myself not to get my expectations too high. However, two screams and about ten jumps backward into my couch later, and the film was over. I’m not a screamer when it comes to most horror films. I can count on one hand how many horror films have made me scream, and now I have to add Host to that small list. Award-winning filmmaker Rob Savage wrote, along with Gemma Hurley and Jed Shepherd, and directed the new horror film despite never being able to set foot in the same room with any of the actors during this production. Due to social distancing precautions, Savage directed everyone remotely instead.
Despite being filmed remotely and on Zoom, Host manages to deliver on the thrills and chills one expects from a horror movie. This movie was not just a bunch of mere jump scares either. Some of the scares in this film were ones that I did not see coming. What adds to the scariness of the film is that the actors were handling the camera. We indeed went everywhere with the actor, and when one is in that confined space with someone, it starts to feel a little claustrophobic. We sit with these women and peer into the background to attempt to see what they see. There’s nowhere else to turn. They are the center focus.
The film stars Haley Bishop (Deep State), Radina Drandova (Dawn of the Deaf), Edward Linard (The Rebels), Jemma Moore (Doom: Annihilation), Caroline Ward (Stalling It), and Emma Louise Webb (The Crown). The friends get together on zoom for some seance fun and end up dealing with much more than anticipated. While the plot might be one bore before, Savage and his team of talented writers craft the script in such a way that it’s all incredibly fresh. To release something that feels new to the viewers of the horror world is nothing short of fantastic in a world of remakes and sequels. In this case, though, the viewer is rewarded by embarking on the seance with these women.
In addition to the incredible acting, each woman not only presented a united front in scaring me for the evening, but they also helped pull off specific effects and lit their scenes. These ladies are beyond impressive. They pull off a genuineness even when they might annoy us. Trust me, one of them is going to annoy you with the blatant spiritual disrespect. We must have a non-believer in these films. Because when that person realizes the events happening around them are real and becomes scared that is scary and our guard goes up. There’s something magical about this trope in horror films when done right, and Host does everything right.
According to Shudder, the film is fifty-six minutes long, and they use that time wisely. While we get to know the characters, we manage to care about these people in a short amount of time. As we realize what is going on alongside them, it’s already too late to turn back. The spiritual realm will accept no forgiveness, and in many ways, I feel that it tells the girls, “You got into this mess I guess you can figure out how to get out of it.” Only in most scenarios, such as this one, we always wonder if that will be the case. Can the ladies figure that out in due time? Will they be able to escape the prescene evoked?
Only the film can answer those questions as I refuse to spoil the movie for viewers. I can say I have honestly learned during this quarantine and from Host is to never listen to someone that tells you, “It’s called possessed, but that doesn’t have to be a negative thing,” guide you in any sort of seance. Or, you know, don’t play with the spirit world as you never know who or what you’re inviting into your home. Sure, I’m going to watch movies about it, but I’m not pulling out the ouija board anytime soon.
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