Host (Rob Savage, 2020, UK)

Host is a 2020 feature by British director Rob Savage, made at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. Savage, who has gone on to direct major Hollywood horror films including the Stephen King adaptation The Boogeyman (2024), was commissioned by a US streaming service to make Host after a video prank stunt went viral. Host makes the most of the limitations brought on by the pandemic - the central gimmick of the film is that it takes entirely on a Zoom call. Even the film's duration - less than one hour - is meant to be a reflection of the time limit on Zoom. 

While this gimmick could easily turn into a forgettable found footage film, Savage has some tricks up his sleeve that work to the film's advantage. Namely, there are a large number of practical effects done on camera that are quite startling. The film revolves around a group of friends who have come together for a seance. When one of the friends makes up a spirit to call upon, the group soon discovers that she has opened a portal to a demon spirit. The actors, most of whom are young women going by their actual names, are convincing performers despite the limitations of being on video chat throughout the entire film.

Host gives new life to the found footage movie, which has become overdone at this point. Needless to say, many moments will stretch your belief. It's best not to think too much about the characters' ability to capture the events of the film as the film progresses, and just let it take you over. Host is an example of a COVID-19-era film that works, and uses the pandemic to its advantage in a way that doesn't feel forced or unnecessary. Kudos to the director and team.



Popular Posts