Host​ Horror in the age of COVID-19

Written By Trellin McCoy

Like many aspects of life, COVID-19 has hit the film industry pretty hard, resulting in many studios postponing their planned releases and production on current projects. However, slowly but surely, we are seeing production resume on many projects. As new projects made in this time trickle out, it begs the question; Do films have to acknowledge the current state of the world? ​Host ​(2020)​ i​ s one of the first films to come out that recognizes and utilizes our current environment, successfully.

Host​ Horror in the age of COVID-19

The film takes place entirely over a zoom call, where a group of friends conducts a seance. One of my biggest pet peeves in movies is characters spending an inordinate amount of time looking at a screen, and I could feel my eyes roll into the back of my head when I heard this premise. However, the film used the zoom format surprisingly well and creates some great scares and moments of pure tension. Clocking in at fifty-six minutes, the film does not overstay its welcome and never feels redundant. The Zoom call feels incredibly similar to actual zoom experiences with choppy audio, buffering, more overlapping dialogue than an Altman film, and the host frantically trying to click out of the “Do you want to upgrade” box. There is a natural progression of scares and they are paced out incredibly well. Certain visuals will stick with you such as a snapchat-like face filter sticking itself to an invisible entity or the creepy chicken-like legs of a demon.

Host​ Horror in the age of COVID-19

There are so many ways this film could have gone wrong, but hats off to the creators and Shudder for creating the best possible version of a Zoom horror film. The future of theatrical films is still uncertain, but there are some recent glimmers of hope with Paul Thomas Anderson beginning to shoot his film and a new secret Borat project being filmed in L.A. Overall, ​Host​ is a solid film, but it still isn’t nearly as scary as our inept president treating the virus, which has now killed nearly quadruple the number of Americans that died in the Vietnam war, as a win. HustleTV we love movies.

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