THE MUJI MOVIE MINUTE- “Host” is a timely movie with a few good scares that proves Zoom calls can indeed get even worse.
6 months ago, plenty of people had never heard of Zoom. We all know what Zoom is now and most of us are using it or some other type of video conferencing software in some capacity. Some of us use Zoom as a business solution. At this point in the pandemic we are all tired of hearing dress shirt and shorts jokes in video conferences at work. Seriously, there is a special place in hell for people who still laugh at those terrible, unoriginal jokes. Some of use zoom as a safe option to maintain social distancing and still stay in touch with our friends. In director Rob Savage’s “Host” a group of friends use Zoom to participate in a séance. A couple of people in the group do not take the séance seriously, which turns out to be a big mistake.
“Host” is a real triumph of true indie filmmaking. It’s a great example of ignoring your limitations and just taking the tools that you have and making something. Stuck in the middle of this pandemic Rob Savage went viral by making a horror short set in a two-minute Zoom meeting. Shudder’s Craig Engler reached out and Savage agreed to turn the short into a feature. The cast of the movie all had to film themselves as Savage directed them remotely. It was a true do it yourself project.
“Host” is about 6 friends who decide to participate in a Séance over Zoom lead by not so reliable medium. Very quickly you find out that a couple of the friends won’t be taking the séance seriously. Longtime fans of Horror know where this will lead and its not anywhere fun. After a couple of practical jokes the group accidently summons something evil and, due to some bad luck with Wi-Fi, aren’t able to successfully close their circle thus leaving the evil entity to roam free and leaving themselves in a fight for their lives.
One of the major strengths of “Host” is the pacing. At a runtime of only 56 minutes this movie has no filler. The first few minutes are used to get to know the characters, the next few to set the scene for all the action, and the last third of the movie is just nonstop set pieces and scares. There is not anything truly original in “Host”. While we’ve seen all of these scares and set ups before, Savage and the cast execute everything so impeccably that you don’t care. There are some truly great jump scares in this movie, many of which were either expertly setup in the first few minutes of the film or are achieved by using all of the negative space in many of the shots. This movie has a lot of open doors and hallways in the background in most every shot.
I must admit that when I heard of this movie’s existence, I was not overly excited. I knew that someone would eventually make a movie set in the pandemic with some sort of video conferencing gimmick and that it would probably be terrible. I am pleased to tell you that I was wrong, and that “Host” is one of the scariest movies of the year. Turn off your lights, your phone, and turn on Shudder. You wont regret spending less than an hour of your night watching “The Host”. I mean, what the hell else do you have to do right now anyways?