Host (2020)

Host (film).jpg
Director: Rob Savage
Running Time: 56 Minutes
Certification: 15
Starring: Haley Bishop, Jemma Moore, Emma Louise Webb, Radina Drandova, Caroline Ward, Alan Emrys, Patrick Ward, Edward Linard, Jinny Lofthouse, Seylan Baxter, Jack Brydon, James Swanton

Has there been a better signifier for the worlds situation than the rise of Zoom? The video-chatting app has become popular for friends to see one another, through the quarantined safeties of their own homes. It's through this app we follow a group of friends coping with lockdown. As they each enter the call, we get a feel for these individuals, and the bonds they share with one another. They engage in friendly banter, and share some complaints, like how one member can rarely leave their partners side. The combined efforts of this talented cast, and the screenplay by Gemma Hurley, Jed Shepherd, and director Rob Savage, go a long way to make these characters feel so real.

What have these pals decided to pass the time with? A seance. Having organised it, Haley (Haley Bishop) asks her friends to be respectful, but she ends up being to only one to take it seriously. The spirits aren't happy, and strange occurrences lead the friends to realise an evil presence has invaded their homes. In the midst of a horrifying reality, Rob Savage has directed one of the most tense and nerve-shredding experiences of 2020. Across the lean 56 minute runtime, we're given time to understand who these characters are, and feel for them as they're thrusting into a nightmarish situation.

It may be clear to see what elements are being set up, so they can return down the line, but that knowledge doesn't stop them being effective. The pay-off works so well, that when it resurfaces, your blood runs cold. It helps that the mood is set in expert fashion, as the sense of isolation has been amplified by real life events, to make what occurs all the more bone-chilling. This includes the most terrifying trip into an attic since 2007's [REC], and it's aided by the harrowing presence of James Swanton, once more sure to frighten your socks off.

Granted, when it comes to characters outside of the main group, they seem to pop out rather quickly. A father of one of the characters appears early on, and we're left to wonder where he is, amidst the far from quiet horrors occurring. But these are only small issues, and certainly don't detract from one of the scariest horror films in a long while. Watch it on the laptop for the complete experience. 

Host is available to watch on Shudder, and through the Shudder app on Amazon Prime.