My Cat Persephone Wrote this Review on her Smartphone. It was better than Mine. .
Rob Savage, Gemma Hurley, and Jed Shepherd
Let the glut of pandemic horror movies begin! You knew they were going to; it was only a matter of when. Unless you’ve wasted your time seeing Corona Zombies, Host is the first major movie shot and featured in the time of cholera, I meant Covid.
I kind of feel bad for the other Corona movies about to be released or in production. With Host, the bar has been set relatively high in that it’s actually good. You know most of them are going to be awful and you’re not even going to bother giving them the time of day provided you know whether it’s day or night since you’ve been at home for the past X weeks.
Since Host just dropped on Shudder, you really should bother. It’s not much of a time commitment, and it’s the best thing released this week. You sat through the mixed bag that was The Rental, you might as well watch this and have a much better time.
Did someone die?
From the Coronavirus?
Why didn’t you stop the movie? And why would you watch Relic with your grandmother considering…(if you’ve seen the movie you know why).
If that’s the only thing you feel bad about then we’ll get on with the review.
Be forewarned, Host is barely an hour long, so this may be the first time it’s taken me longer to write a review for a movie than to watch the actual movie. At a running time when The Irishman is barely getting out of the parking lot and you’re wishing The Wretched were over, Host’s end credits are rolling. Or zooming.
Host opens virtually. We’re on a Zoom call with 5 white girls. I know that most Zoom calls are pretty inane and stay about 40 minutes after its expiration date, but trust me, you’re going to want to be a part of this found, I meant Zoom footage.
Let’s meet these white girls. There’s not much to any of their characters and that’s probably for the best. We’d hate to get to know them before they…you know.
- Haley (Haley Bishop) - She seems to be the de facto leader only because she’s the first on the Zoom call and she started this entire thing.
- Jemma (Jemma Moore) – She’s got glasses and looks slightly Asian. I wear glasses and look completely Asian.
- Emma (Emma Louise Webb)- Her name rhymes with Jemma and she likes filters.
- Radina (Radina Drandova)- She moved in with her boyfriend when quarantine began and is starting to regret it.
- Caroline- She lives with her daddy and murders people in the park, but at least she’s wearing a mask.
It’s Haley’s idea to do an online séance because she has never seen a horror movie where white people in groups do stupid things. The other ladies join in because there’s nothing else to do.
Haley warns everybody to take this seriously.
A random friend named Teddy (Edward Linard) joins the call. Though they’re all miles apart from each other Teddy manages to suck all the air out of the room because he’s much too much.
We all do.
Since most of them have never done a séance before, Haley calls a medium named Seylan (Seylan Baxter) to join the call and help everyone through it. Seylan has done countless seances but she’s never done one online. The principles are the same, even though everyone is apart.
Like Haley warned, Seylan reiterates that everyone involved needs to take this seriously and respect the spirits or else they will f*cking kill you.
Teddy is such a douche that he hangs up. Good riddance, though we wish he were dead.
So now it’s just the ladies. Seylan invites the spirits in.
Nothing seems to be happening for minutes at a time.
Until Jemma says she sees a spirit of a dead boy from her past.
Seylan’s connection is cut off.
The other ladies ask if Jemma saw or heard anything concrete from the dead boy.
Jemma confesses that she just made the entire thing up because nothing was happening.
It turns out that Jemma’s words were some kind of invitation to the astral realm, and even if what Jemma said was from her imagination, what answers her, what answers all of them, isn’t.
6 sentences ago this review became longer than the movie.
What Works With Host
- The acting is solid all across the board. You don’t know any of the girls in any way you’d know a character in another movie, but you genuinely feel like you’re Zoom-dropping on a private meeting. You feel enough for each of them that you’re sorry when they, um, exit.
- Considering the budget, or lack thereof, the special effects are pretty amazing considering each of the actors handled them individually.
- The final act is more nerve wracking than you’d expect. Director Rob Savage knows you’ve experienced scares like this watching Blair Witch or Paranormal Activity, but he’s brilliant at disguising when to drop the fright. And more often than not, he’s right.
- First! Being the first of (probably) many pandemic horror movie means something, especially when it’s this good. All the awful ones will be forgotten after the pandemic is over, but Host will have legs even as later generations wonder why we talked to each other in little rectangles.
What Doesn’t Work With Host
- The first act is filled with more fake scares that you expect or want. Though one could guess that these are all setup for when the real terror begins.
See Host. It’s an hour long and you’ve got nothing better to do. Then see more of the amazing horror movies on Shudder.