Updated: Jul 19, 2021
The 310th review!
Before I start my review, I want to take a second because this is the last note Facebook will ever let me do. As of November first, notes will be no more. I’m kinda bummed. Oh well, I already have a few ideas of what comes next, but still it’s a little sad. Anyways, on to the movie!
Happy Halloween to everyone out there! We did it! We made it through the month of October. Thirty-one movies in 31 days! I want to sincerely thank everyone who stuck with me for the month, I’m pretty impressed I only lost two followers throughout all of October! Seeing as how it’s Halloween which means everyone is entitled to one good scare, I’m glad I ended the 2020 Mr. Pat’s 31 Days of Halloween with...
Host (2020). Shudder
Let me start off by saying this movie is scary, and at times, it’s really scary! Many people who watch are going to compare it to Unfriended, but that’s not a bad thing, that was a pretty solid movie, this one is better though. The entire film takes place on a Zoom call during the pandemic. So all the problems and glitches, except for summoning an angry spirit, are all very relatable for pretty everyone right now.
So, much like us, a group of friends are having weekly chats on Zoom. To spice things up, one of them, Haley, hires a person to do a virtual seance on their call. While the older lady is explaining the rules she lets them know because it’s being done virtually, it’s a bit more dangerous than a normal seance. What starts off as seemingly innocent fun takes a drastic turn when one of them unwittingly invites something in that’s not of this world.
During the seance one of them breaks a pretty big rule and a demon gets in. But before she can guide them out, the lady leading them through the seance loses her internet and then her phone drops out before she can tell them how to end it. These ladies are now trapped trying to survive against something they are completely helpless against and it’s insanely compelling.
With the entire movie confined to a computer screen, they had to get creative with how they showcase their scares. Sure, that means at some point a character will carry their phone or computer around when they should be running like hell, but that’s forgivable because if they didn’t, we wouldn’t have much of a movie. The scares are plentiful and very good. It has a very solid mix of jump scares and slow burns that can be pretty horrifying. While going through certain parts again, it struck me how damn suspenseful the whole thing was. Even on a second viewing when I knew what was coming, I could feel my blood rushing faster.
The movie uses every trick imaginable to make it scary and unique that just about every moment it had me on the edge of my seat. You have your normal demonic hijinks, like things being thrown across the room, pounding and the ol’ flour on the floor to show footprints, but those aren’t even the best ones. I didn’t quite realize it at first, but this being Zoom, one of the women is using different face filters and the facial recognition software creates an absolutely terrifying sequence of events that will stick with me for awhile.
One of the draws and drawbacks of this movie is its specifically made for 2020 and this pandemic. They’re quarantined and the movie goes out of its way, sometimes unbelievably to hammer that point home. At one point, Haley gets dragged off screen by something, so her friend Jemma decides to go and get her, but before she leaves, she stops to put on her mask. But the most ridiculous thing comes later. Jemma makes it to Haley’s house and finds her hiding under a desk. The first thing they decide to do when they see each other is elbow bump. Like, really?
Since the entire thing was done through Zoom, including the credits which I thought was a neat touch, Host is leaving me with a lot of unanswered questions. We can only know what we’re seeing on screen and none of these people are demonologists so the film leaves you wondering long after it goes to black. I immediately went to Reddit after to see if anyone was able to piece some things together, but didn’t have any luck. I’m not upset about it, I’m definitely intrigued. I would LOVE to know more about pretty much everything which is a credit to the movie.
Still, Host is genuinely frightening. It’s the scariest movie I’ve seen so far this year and it’s not even close. I was laying down when watching this and my whole body was jumping, including my arms which just kind of flailed up in the air at certain moments. Another reason I suggest checking it out, it’s a shade under one hour so there’s no fat in this movie and doesn’t drag at all. You meet the characters, the séance starts and things start happening fast and they keep escalating.
I didn’t particularly care for the ending because it basically said, “Hey, this movie is ending soon, let me count it down for you.” But like I said earlier, they really want this movie to tied to the coronavirus, and that damn 40-minute Zoom time limit is something we all deal with. I wonder do how it’s going to hold up once we’re done with this madness.
In short, this movie is damn scary and I highly recommend it. It’s tight, tense, fairly unique, has standout acting and some terrifying moments that should scare you away from doing seances through the internet.
9 Dr. Chainsaws!
Directed by Rob Savage
Six friends get together during lockdown for their weekly zoom call. It's Haley’s turn to organize an activity and instead of a quiz, she’s arranged for a Medium to conduct a séance. Bored and feeling mischievous, Jemma decides to have some fun and invents a story about a boy in her school who hanged himself. However, her prank gives license for a demonic presence to cross over, taking on the guise of the boy in Jemma’s made-up story. The friends begin noticing strange occurrences in their homes as the evil presence begins to make itself known, and they soon realize that they might not survive the night.
A SHUDDER ORIGINAL.
Cast: Haley Bishop, Radina Drandova, Jemma Moore, Caroline Ward, Emma Webb, Edward Linard