MOVIE REVIEW: Host (2020)
Let’s get straight down to it, who here has seen that Modern Family episode where it’s all shot as if happening online? The characters interact on separate screens, and it’s all shown together for our pleasure. It was inventive, and well done, and innovative. That was a few years ago now, and it’s better than this film.
We are living in strange times, and the Zoom conversation has been a conversation piece, that’s what ‘Host’ is; a conversation piece. Something you say to people - ‘’Did you see that film where the characters talk to each other on Zoom and have a séance for shits n giggles, then a demon fucks them up….?’’ Conversation over, move on. It’s a novelty, and a thing that has a lifetime expiry date of now, right now. It’s what people want, and especially at this moment in our history. Quick and easy, simple (and cheap).
Either that brief description of the film will pull you in and make you want to see it, or repel you and make you sigh at the state of things. Where did the originality go, what happened to proper film-making, is this generation really that shallow? It’s wham, bam, thank you ma’am. Under an hour in length, full to the brim with shocks and jump scares, loud and crass. Same old walking into rooms with meagre lighting to offset the ‘scare’ when it comes booming along. The dialogue is realistic, if lines go ‘’Guys, you’re not gonna believe this. I’ve literally just seen a light go on behind me, actually’’ and real people react like ‘’Fuck, I’m getting cunted, better not have another shot or the ooooh demon will get me, scary scary,’’. If you want to watch a Zoom meet-up go wrong then be my guest, that is all this is. With all the loss in connections and face filters you could wish for. It is like an eternal circle of death buffering symbol on the screen.
Some reasonably well put together scenes near the end, and one which appeared to be played for humour, add up to a mostly forgettable experience that will last in your mind as long as the running time. It all seems to be an attempt to piss on Blair Witch Project, and how many found footage films have come since then? They even use the actors’ names as the character names, like in that classic horror masterpiece. It’s a film very much summing up 2020, in fact it could only have been made, and wanted to be seen, during a pandemic like the one we are in. Is that a good thing, or bad? Up to you to decide.
Host is available to stream now via Shudder.com