Let’s see if this host has the most.
Superhost is a new Shudder exclusive about two travel vloggers Claire and Teddy (Sara Canning and Osric Chau) who are struggling to keep their channel relevant. They find a remote house that looks like the perfect location and hope this new location will revitalize interest. However, once they arrive, their host Rebecca (Gracie Gillam) seems a bit odd. The two might be in more danger than they realize.
We have a bit of a weird one here. Let’s talk about what works first. The acting through and through is good. We have real characters with their own motivations and quirks. Despite the short running time, I felt like I got to know them quite well. While the characters are good, the directing is perhaps even better. The moments where we see their channel it feels like a real YouTube couple doing a video.
In short, the cast and crew do great. A lot of people are applauding Gracie Gillam’s unhinged performance, which is worth celebrating. However, I want to point out that everyone does well here as well. Canning and Chau make a believable couple throughout the story.
We have a clever film that emphasizes a feeling of something being off rather than jump scares or anything else. This translates to a slow burn, which while it is smoldering is quite effective. You’ll be waiting and waiting for the mask to finally come off and the madness to begin. The subtle creep factor works quite well.
Unfortunately, I think the final act is where the film falters. We have a competent slasher/sort-of home invasion (is it a home invasion when it isn’t your home?) ending, but the cleverness of the early moments of the film dissipates a bit. Don’t get me wrong, the acting is still good, but it left me with a feeling of “that’s it?” more than being satisfied.
We also have our characters make some dumb decisions to kick the finale off and this trend continues until the end. Unfortunately, I kept thinking about why they didn’t just drive away instead of focusing on the terror on the screen. The build up seems better than the payoff, which is unfortunate.
We end up with a good but forgettable horror film. It very much feels like catch-and-release cinema.
Worth watching if you know what you’re getting.