book and movie reviews

Host (2020)

      Ah. Quarantine movies. They’re everywhere now, aren’t they? But this one… This movie combines the quarantine narrative with found footage to attempt to scare me. Color me intrigued. 

Host is a 2020 found footage horror movie directed by Rob Savage. It is a story about five friends inviting a medium to join their Zoom meeting for a little seance excitement during COVID-19 quarantine. When Gemma claims she is touched by the spirit of a deceased friend named Jack, candles begin to flicker and strange noises can be heard. 
When the paranormal activity increases to more dangerous levels, Gemma reveals to the medium that Jack isn’t real. She improvised the “spirit touching” for laughs. The medium then tells the group that this was a dangerous thing to do; That evil spirits or demons can hide behind the “mask” of an invented spirit. Gemma made a mistake. Now, she and her friends are going to pay for making light of the spirit world.
Based on it’s premise alone, I found this film to be quite gimmicky. In the vein of movies that came before it, such as Unfriended, Host takes place entirely within a Zoom meeting. To add to the gimmick, the friends are using Zoom because of the newly-instated social distancing rules due to COVID-19. I can’t help but think “convenient.” 
Host leans heavily on its format for scares, nearly ignoring plot. The story as a whole is simple and the characters are one-dimensional and stereotypical, but the scares are great. When this movie was over, I couldn’t help but think that all this film was was a vehicle for creative kills to entertain the masses (sort of like the Friday the 13th and A Nightmare on Elm Street franchises were toward their ends), and I wasn’t mad at that. I was definitely entertained. I admit, I jumped at a few well-placed jump scares. I 
smiled when it was over. 
Did it make me scared to go into the bathroom right after watching it? Yes. 
Did it make me think, or did it linger in the back of my mind to scare me until morning? No.
Host is… Dare I say it… Trendy. It’s a product of its time. Ten or twenty years from now, it will look dated and dull, but right now, it’s creative use of the Zoom platform is unique and fun to see. However, this novelty is all this movie has going for it. The plot is nearly non-existent and the characters are interchangeable. So interchangeable, in fact, I couldn’t keep the characters’ names straight and there’s only six of them.
If you’re looking for an entertaining night in front of the T.V., Host is definitely worth the watch. If you’re looking for a fleshed-out plot or interesting characters, you’re going to have to look somewhere else.

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