Friday, August 14, 2020

Host (2020)

A group of friends meets on Zoom during the COVID pandemic to have a seance led by an experienced medium, Seylan. Everything is going as planned until Jemma claims to contact a friend who killed himself that she completely made up. Seylan informs them that not respecting the experience in this way opened up the group to forces beyond their control.

Host is the perfect immersive experience. I personally have been in countless Zoom meetings for work and for fun because of the pandemic, so viewing this movie on my computer made me feel right in the middle of the action. Haley hired the medium and urges the others to take it seriously while the others make a drinking game and mock the proceedings. I don't really blame them because I probably wouldn't take it very seriously either as someone who doesn't believe in spirits or ghosts. Things get deadly serious after Jemma's prank and each friend is confronted with a supernatural presence.

The film clocks in at just under an hour and moves quickly. The set up is just enough to get a general picture of each friend before the action moves forward. No scene is wasted. The mood goes from joking and silly to suspenseful instantly. While there are jumpscares which usually replace creating mood and feel cheap, these ones are earned and enhance the whole experience. It's everything I wanted from Unfriended, which introduced presenting a horror film entirely from a computer screen. Host has creepy, unpredictable kills and hapless, sympathetic characters where Unfriended prioritized teen drama over everything else. The performances are convincing, especially Haley's raw panic during the closing sequence. 

Host is such a fun, spooky, unpredictable movie. Even though the formula feels familiar, the manner of haunting left me guessing what would happen. Frankly, even if you end up hating it, there are worse ways to spend an hour of your time. 

My rating: 4.5/5 fishmuffins

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