Horror films tends to proliferate in sub-genre cycles, whether it be “found footage” initiated by Cannibal Holocaust (1980) and truly entering the mainstream with The Blair Witch Project (1999), or the so-called “torture porn” one thanks especially to Saw (2004) and Hostel (2005). Now, and I’m not exactly surprised, we have what could be a real wave of “virtual hangout-filmed” horrors with Host appearing to lead the charge.
I don’t want to say too much because I honestly think it’s best going into this as blind as possible, but I’ll say filmed through Zoom (at least in appearance) that it touches on a number of clever things. I’ve had many virtual hangouts with great friends since lockdown and one thing I’ve definitely noted is through the way it randomly cuts to someone if they’re talking (unless it’s everyone at the same time!), that can’t help but feel a little cinematic. This and more definitely plays to Host‘s advantage, which is about six friends that come together over Zoom to hang with a specialist, seeing whether they can summon a spirit.
I’m not going to say much more because I feel strongly you shouldn’t know a lot, especially as this would be difficult to market without giving away lots. Let’s just say that in this “claustrophobic”-fuelled time of all times to make a horror, it feels just about perfect at times. In the third act unfortunately it gets a little repetitive/obvious in scares (although in fairness it must be quite hard for now to make a film, even as more and more’s becoming possible again), although even then the one hint I’ll give is I screamed at the very last shot!
This was made through Shudder, a horror streaming service and to be honest we mostly seem to agree streaming services are perfect for now to watch stuff. I have my own thoughts about that but in this case I do think you couldn’t watch Host at a cinema to get the full experience of what it must be like, in a certain experience. Absolutely give this a go, just maybe not in the dark or at night 😉 .