Review: Host

George Bell reviews the latest film from Rob Savage, a horror set in the coronavirus lockdown.

George Bell
28th August 2020
When I first heard of this movie I was expecting an exact copy of internet horror films Unfriended (2014) and Unfriended 2: Dark Web (2018) but thankfully I was wrong. This one-hour video call of terror shows that you really can get some doom and gloom while on zoom.

Host is directed by Rob Savage and follows a group of women who accidentally summon a demonic force during a virtual seance and must do everything possible to survive. You might think that the premise sounds quite generic and you'd be correct, it is. But the execution is anything but.

The performances and dialogue made Host feel genuine from the start with conversations I'd likely have over a zoom call (If I had friends), including stuff about COVID-19, and is made better by the excellent chemistry these characters have. Despite the film's short run time, the film does a decent job of setting up these characters and making them relatable so later in the film I'm was actually scared of what happened to them, something I can't say about other horror films these days.

Host may be a generic horror movie but what it does, it does brilliantly

Filming in a video call format sure has its challenges but can also have its benefits, as shown by Savage here. The limited camera angles make for an uncomfortable, almost claustrophobic viewing as you have no idea what's just off-screen. Having multiple camera screens also makes the watch more stressful as you keep switching between the different women in case anything spooky is happening. Certain camera shots aren't perfect with blurring or the characters are off-screen slightly but that just makes the experience feel more realistic and hence scarier. The video call format is used in clever ways for some cool kills and memorable scares which is only ruined slightly by the slightly cheesy look of the movie's monster.

Image credit: Shudder via YouTube

Host may be a generic horror movie but what it does, it does brilliantly and should be commended for that and that it accomplished the impressive feat of being made over lockdown. So you have an hour spare, and a Shudder subscription, I recommend giving this a watch.

Now I'm off to go uninstall Zoom.

Feature image credit: IMDb

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AUTHOR: George Bell
One half film addict, one part computer nerd. All parts Croc lover

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