Host review – Zoom seance lockdown horror

December 30, 2020
Louie Fecou 0
Film Reviews, Shudder
4

Summary

Horror fans should really enjoy Host. It is well executed and the Zoom gimmick will have resonance with anyone just now that has to use the app on a regular basis, and I did wonder after watching this if anyone was tempted to try having their own séance with their group of friends?

4

Summary

Horror fans should really enjoy Host. It is well executed and the Zoom gimmick will have resonance with anyone just now that has to use the app on a regular basis, and I did wonder after watching this if anyone was tempted to try having their own séance with their group of friends?

Host is only 56 minutes long, so it feels odd calling it a movie. It is really more like an episode of Black Mirror, if Black Mirror did stuff about ghosts, so it’s a bit confusing from that point of view.

Distributed by Shudder, and produced by Shadowhouse Films, Host is the story of a group of friends that decide to have a séance on Zoom, as lockdown prevents them from doing it in person.

You have already seen this type of filmmaking before — you know, everything is conveyed through the computer screens of the cast. Just like found footage though, it runs the risk of becoming tired quite quickly, so you really have to be in the right frame of mind to watch this.

Based on a short by Rob Savage who is also at the helm for the full-length feature, the film follows a group of friends and their online séance. They connect with Seylan, the medium, who promises to guide them through the experience safely. Hayley, who has organized the event, is taking the whole thing very seriously and urges the others in the meeting to do the same.

However, Jemma decides that things aren’t moving quickly enough and invents a little story about an old classmate that commits suicide. Much to the anger of the group though, things start to get weird pretty quickly, and Seylan explains that a malevolent spirit may be using her story to terrorize the group.

The story escalates from here, pretty much in the way you probably expect it should, and the shocks and jump scares build to a shocking final scene.

If you enjoy these types of films, then I imagine you will get quite a lot from Host. The premise is topical and engaging, and the performances are actually really good, with the cast doing a great job with such a limited palate. The scares are effective, and as a viewer, you are very quickly drawn into the meeting and the séance. The tension builds well, and you find yourself looking beyond the characters, into the background of the scenes in case there is something demonic lurking there.

Apparently, it only took 12 weeks for Host to get to Shudder, and as quarantine was already in place, the cast had to perform many of the stunts and effects themselves, so you have to admire the production, and the challenge of getting the thing actually made.

Horror fans should really enjoy Host. It is well executed and the Zoom gimmick will have resonance with anyone just now that has to use the app on a regular basis, and I did wonder after watching this if anyone was tempted to try having their own séance with their group of friends?


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