demons & possessions

[Movie Review] Host (2020) ★★★★★

Emma, Caroline, Haley, Jemma and Radina on Zoom in Host 2020

Host unleashes fresh but terrifying scares during lockdown. 

Host is a supernatural occult found footage horror film with an outstanding original concept in the current real-life crazy times of the covid-19 pandemic. During the lockdown filmmakers can be quite creative and this creativity led to the film Host. A found footage film about six friends who want to hold a seance via Zoom. It’s a great concept and it’s also very creatively executed. Although some scary scenes might remind of Paranormal Activity (2007), they have made it their own and turned this fun idea into a really terrifying film that also feels very realistic, especially because it plays out during our real-life lockdown. 

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Six friends, Haley, Emma, Jemma, Radina, Caroline and Teddy decide to hold a seance with medium Seylan via Zoom. But when Jemma pulls a prank and Seylan’s connection breaks up, something has found its way through the internet to haunt the six friends. 

Why you should watch it

The premise of Host is very simple, but very effective. With little means they have accomplished a great outcome that is truly terrifying. The film reminds of Paranormal Activity (2007) and The Blair With Project (1999) and it definitely can side itself among these ground breaking found footage films. It’s a simple but great idea, executed with realism, a creepy atmosphere and terrifying jump scares, but it also adds some very gruesome death scenes. It combines tension with horror scenes in a great way that increase the overall scary vibe. The duration is excellently chosen, for its only under one hour long that proves the perfect time to let the events unfold and to prevent it from being dragged on too long. 

The girls and Teddy all use their own names, just like in The Blair Witch and Paranormal Activity, which adds even more to the realism. Each character differs also from each other and is depicted in subtle but effective ways. It’s their reactions that make all the difference. Because it’s a Zoom meeting, everybody is seen on screen and how they act, react and what they say is what makes this film very enjoyable. Emma is scared, but the fun girl. Haley is the one who has suggested this seance and is curious. Jemma doesn’t take it all too seriously, but proves to be the bravest. Caroline is the most scared one and almost can’t handle it. Radina is the more grounded one and the quiet one. And Teddy is pulled out of the seance by his girlfriend, but joins in later on, when the bad things are already in full play.

And it does get really bad. Subtle at first, With great scares and jump scares, the tension is also build up in a very creative way. And it gets worse and worse, especially when they are cut off from Seylan who’s the only one who can know what to do. So the girls are on their own. Some literally. That makes it all the more scary. Being in a lockdown, not able to be with each other physically, but to go through it all by yourself with the others only online to give some mental support. That makes it all the more claustrophobic and addresses that feel of loneliness and the need of a friend next to you, whom you can grab tightly and share the fear with. 

This brings some very creative and creepy scenes that will certainly scare you. Each one of them gets to deal with different kind of hauntings and terrors and although some familiar, they are still used in a great way and with a fresh new spin. While other scares are indeed very creative and really terrifying. The tension is so good, that it will keep you at the edge of your seat, or even wanting to look from behind the couch, being prepared to be scared any minute. 

Not many films manage to really scare and which doesn’t feel cheap. Host is very capable to leave your bed light on at night and to check under your bed. But asides from the scares, the likable characters reel you into their little group of friends and feel like your own group of friends. It’s scary, highly entertaining and this will always be that special film during that special time we went through. 

My favorite part

I really loved how scared Caroline was. You could feel her anxiety through the screen and she represents some of us watching, knowing this isn’t going to end well at all. While Jemma is quite the opposite and approaches it all as a joke. But the more creepy it gets and weird things start to happen, the more all of their inner feelings and ‘real’ character shines through, making this a unique experience to watch. I loved the scare with the mask floating in the room. The mask alone is scary enough, but they know how to make it worse and it will haunt your dreams. And not to motion the brilliant use of Caroline’s screensaver. 


Rating: ★★★★★

Scare factor: ★★★★★

Gruesome factor: ★★★☆☆

Originality factor: ★★★★★

Entertainment factor: ★★★★★

Cast and crew

Host is directed and written by Rob Savage and cowritten by Gemma Hurley and Jed Shepard. It stars Haley Bishop (Haley), Jemma Moore (Jemma), Emma Louise Webb (Emma), Radina Drandova (Radina), Caroline Ward (Caroline) Edward Linard (Teddy) and Seylan Baxter (Seylan).

Duration: 57 minutes. Edited by: Brenna Rangott. Produced by: Douglas Cox, Emily Gotto and Samuel Zimmerman. Production company: Shadowhouse Films. Distributed by: Shudder. 

Check the trailer below

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