• Kelly M. Hudson

Hosting a Séance Online is a Bad Idea!



A group of close friends, all mostly housebound because of Covid-19, decide to have a group Zoom meeting in which a medium will join them. Yes, that’s right, they’re going to have a séance online. Most of the nearly all-woman group treat it like a fun night. They’ve got their booze, their snacks, and their party attitudes all fixed on right. One of them, Haley (Haley Bishop), is a little bit more serious than the others, because she knows the medium and because, as we see rather early in the story, there are strange noises in her house that she’s concerned about. The medium logs on, they start the séance, but then the medium gets dropped after one of them claims to have heard a noise and envisioned a former high school classmate who hung himself. This is all bunk, she confesses, the medium no longer online now. She was having a laugh. Turns out, the joke is on everybody, because this false narrative gives form to a demon that begins to torment each and every one of the group, until pretty soon, only a couple of them are left alive.

Host is a combination of something like Paranormal Activity and Unfriended and, to be honest, is scarier than both of those movies. All the action takes place on computer screens, which does at time strain credibility, but it’s a given you’re going to have to accept some of that wonkiness when it comes to these kinds of “found footage” films. The set-up is great, the characters are all interesting, lovely people, young and full of life and good humor. Watching them get killed is harrowing, and there isn’t a single one of them you want to see die. Host was apparently filmed in different locations while everyone was in quarantine, thus making it the first made-at-home quarantine film, and it’s really quite brilliant. The concept is solid, the execution outstanding, the acting terrific, and the scary moments are truly frightening. It’s all fun and games until someone invites a demon in. From then on, it’s a white-knuckle ride.

An excellent horror film in its own right, Host is also an example of what good writing, great acting, and a little ingenuity can accomplish. The story moves along swiftly and there are no dull moments. The short running time sees to that. And the suspense sequences are riveting, as is the terror that drips from every computer screen. Clever, well-done, and scary as hell, Host is a movie worth watching together with your friends on Zoom. Just be careful you don’t accidentally summon a demon with a bad sense of humor.

★★★☆


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