My heart rate hasn’t quite settled back to normal after watching HOST. I thought I would be brave and create an ambiance by shutting all the lights off, and instantly regretted it the second the movie was over. It’s official… HOST is too-scared-to-go-to-the-bathroom scary. It’s kind of want-to-call-your-Mom-crying scary. It’s tiptoe around the house, peeking around corners and turning on all the lights knowing damn well that won’t save you scary.
If you’re thinking… ok, a quarantine Zoom found footage flick- gimmicky. I get it. But you are wrong wrong wrong. There is nothing gimmicky about this. It’s all charm and horror and peeking through your fingers and racing heartbeats. Really, I was leaning forward to see the details I could not bring myself to fully look away from, and covering my mouth and my eyes (I know, I know… don’t touch your face! But I was home with freshly washed hands) gawking in terror, along with the characters on screen. Watching this really does feel like you are one of the friends on the Zoom call, it’s like a nightmarish LARP from the netherest nether regions of hell.
The tiny cast was so damn charming and endearing. Emma with her pigtails and pink bunny slippers especially won my heart. Probably because she’s that friend we all have that we collectively feel the need to protect. These women are smart and funny and their chemistry is so great that it really and truly feels like participatory/voyeuristic. This film would never work if not for that. This is a shining example of cast and crew doing so much with so little. To truly throw the audience into the feel of a Zoom call, there’s no beautiful cinematography or score to build beauty and tension. It’s all direction, acting, editing and all elements come together in perfect alchemy to quite frankly… scare the shit out of the audience. The core cast of Radina Drandova, Jemma Moore, Emma Louise Webb, Haley Bishop, Caroline Ward is the heart and soul of the film. Just look at the agony in their faces in that thumbnail! A mere modicum of what’s in store for you.
The limitations of quarantine and Zoom are used to full advantage here. Rather than weaknesses, they become strengths and I won’t say any more for fear of spoiling. Creative from beginning to end, first frame to last- it’s a ride, an experience. Rob Savage, Gemma Hurley, Jed Shepherd and team created the unique, creative quarantine brilliance we all hoped to achieve in our most ideal lockdown scenario. And they did it BIG. Turn off all the lights (maybe even watch on a computer for truly maximum immersiveness), light a candle if you really want to fuck yourself up, and dive into this horrifically good time.
Some extra fun Host related stuff coming up on the Podcast,
so stay tuned for that ya creeps!
Host is exclusively streaming on Shudder, Thursday July 29th