Host ★★★★½

It was back in 2014 when Skype-set horror film Unfriended kicked off a style of filmmaking that Unfriended‘s producer Timur Bekmambetov coined “Screenlife.” Six years laters, we have the release of Host, which is for all intents and purposes, a film with a very similar plot to Unfriended. However, as I was incredibly disappointment with the film that Unfriended turned out to be, I would say that Host ends up being more in like with my expectations for the former.

Host is a film that definitely follows the less-is-more philosophy, complete with the fact that it has a quite brisk 56 minute running time, with the plot taking place over the course of the entirety of a 40-minute Zoom call. While the story follows the typical Paranormal Activity-Esque found footage formula, right down to building up to a final big jump scare, what makes Host remarkable is how the scares are executed. This includes relying almost entirely on in-camera effects, with there being many moments where I would question how exactly a scare was pulled off.

I also have to say that Host is a testament to how possible it is to pull off a horror film in today’s day and age, with all that’s required is an available medium to shoot on and a dedicated cast and crew. The fact that Host is a film that was made during a global pandemic is almost reason enough to give it praise for even existing. Overall, I have to say that Host is an effectively scary film that will probably leave you looking over your shoulder during your next Zoom call.

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