On the one hand, you have to admire that Host was a movie made during the COVID-19 lockdown. That it uses everyone’s favourite online meeting place, Zoom to great effect.
However, on the other it recycles so many ideas and tropes that it begins to give off seriously strong feelings of déjà vu. Perhaps though, its biggest sin is that it is quite dull which is some feat considering it’s only 57 minutes long.
Directed by Rob Savage who co-wrote it with Gemma Hurley and Jed Shepherd (seriously? 3 writers for this?). Six friends are meeting up on Zoom alongside a medium to have a little séance. As you do…
Of course, some scoff at the idea and even though they’re asked to be respectful, one behaves poorly making up a story about someone who died. Rightfully so, this annoys a few of the others but that is nothing compared to the terror they’re about to go through.
You see, the false story allowed an evil spirit to latch on to the ‘character’ they created and now it wants to make them suffer.
Expect jump scares and get jump scares, that is what Host has to offer. However, that’s not to say they’re all terrible. In fact, there are one or two that work very effectively. Not just getting the desired reaction but leaving a hollow feeling in the pit of the stomach.
Making you jump and giving off creepy vibes isn’t Host’s problem. No, its problem surrounds everything else starting with the characters. The cast are fine, no bad acting here but their characters are non-existent. Names are said and promptly forgotten and a handful are even quite unlikable. A bit of a problem when we’re supposed to care about their perils. It’s very hard to care about any of them.
Then we have the stupidity of it all.
As things really go wrong and people start to die, this Zoom meeting continues and continues. Characters will go to investigate a noise and bring their laptop/webcam with them. It’s found-footage idiocy 101, yet makes even less sense here. These aren’t normal human reactions and even nods to the pandemic come across silly. Such as a character running for her life but remembering to put a mask on. It’s not played for laughs because it is such a serious movie.
All of this just takes you out of the experience and makes it feel so fake which is just a failure of film-making. Yes, Host is not the first and won’t be the last that does this (especially where found-footage style horror is concerned) but it is 2020 and this stuff was popularised in 1999.
No lessons learned here sadly which makes Host one to avoid even if it being made in the lockdown era is pretty damn cool.
The Final Score - 3/10