Tense silences. Shadowy backgrounds. Sudden WiFi blackouts. To the untrained eye, lockdown horror Host, filmed entirely during lockdown, has all the hallmarks of your average work Zoom call. But thanks to some clever camerawork and the film’s super-creative practical effects team, this high concept, at-home chiller provides even more scares than your weekly video catch-up with ‘sweaty Jeff’ from accounts.
Set somewhere in the barren wasteland of post-COVID Britain, Host sees six friends hire a local medium to conduct a seance for them. Bored and feeling mischievous, the pals ditch their usual quiz while one girl invents a story about a boy in her school who hanged himself. As anyone who has seen a scary movie before knows, this kind of prank is bound to cause problems – and the gang soon realises how pleasantly monotonous their lockdown lives have been when an evil spirit crosses over and starts invading their homes and dragging them off into dark corners.
Part-found footage thrill-ride, part-supernatural nerve-shredder, director Rob Savage’s no-budget fright-fest won’t show seasoned genre buffs anything new. Instead, it takes the best bits from similar movies like Paranormal Activity and REC – we won’t mention the obvious comparisons to dreadful dark web flop Unfriended – and simply puts them in a different context. In fact, by spoiling the one form of visual communication that still connects people to absent friends and family, Host has managed to make us feel scared in our last remaining safe space. Now, as you lounge on the sofa in your oh-so-very-quiet living room, you can feel afraid of your empty home at the one time you can’t leave it. Gee, thanks Rob.
Still not convinced? Then have a look through some of the very many tweets from terrified horror fans on the Internet:
“Host on Shudder is genuinely unsettling,” said one (un)happy viewer. “It’s The Blair Witch Project for 2020. And at a brisk 60 minutes it doesn’t outstay its welcome.”
— Jack (@jackedis92) July 31, 2020
Another argued “Host features some of the editing of the year”, while film and TV journalist Amy West admitted after watching that she may “never [use] Zoom again.”
— Jeff Whitmire (@JeffWhitmire1) August 3, 2020
Just watched #HOST. Great little flick. Never using Zoom again.
— Amy West (@TV_amyy) July 31, 2020
‘Host’ is available on horror streaming platform Shudder now