Plot – Six friends hire a medium to hold a seance via Zoom during lockdown, but they get far more than they bargained for as things quickly go wrong. When an evil spirit invades their homes, they realise they might not survive the night – Host.
Director – Rob Savage
Released – 2020
When I first heard about Host, a 56-minute long film shot using Zoom during quarantine. I was expecting just another of the gimmicky horror movie similar to Unfriended or Friend Request and although this shares similarities with both, such as a laptop screen being the best way to experience it, Host is by and far more enjoyable than previous webcam-based movies and because of that, it’s a lot more memorable too.
In terms of filmmaking, this idea and execution of this film is genius, with director Rob Savage going to great lengths to make this movie as authentic as possible, even down to keeping the film length tied to the maximum length of a Zoom call and having the credits match the settings screen, to name but a couple.
This also aided the pacing by ramping up the events within the first 20 minutes. This isn’t a slow-paced horror by any stretch of the imagination, though this doesn’t mean this is a movie filled with cheap jump-scares and horror cliches, Savage found time to include plenty of creepy moments and tension building, similar in style to the Paranormal Activity, (Before they got all formulaic).
Another element of the film that adds to the realism is the acting. Each of the young actresses’ performances feeling authentic, aided rather than hindered by the limitations imposed by the lock-down, with the locations being the casts actual homes and each using their proper names. This also made the practical effects even more impressive, given they have set it up with social distancing involved.
All in all, Host takes an interesting idea and good innovations to create a unique and unusual horror movie, which took me off guard on multiple occasions, tapping into the anxieties that we all shared being trapped inside for months on end, attempting to avoid an unseen enemy, only here it’s not the pandemic that we should fear, but something more supernatural. Making excited to see what Rob Savage and writer Jed Shepherd have planned next, a film that’s being billed as Conjuring behind bars.