Host (2020) | Film Review
Host (2020) is a British found-footage horror film written by Rob Savage, Gemma Hurley and Jed Shepherd. It is directed by Rob Savage and stars Haley Bishop, Emma Louise Webb, Jemma Moore, Caroline Ward, Radina Drandova, Seylan Baxter and Teddy Linard. It was released on July 30, 2020 and distributed by Shudder.
The film starts from the perspective of Haley (Haley Bishop). We see that Haley is preparing for a Zoom meeting with her friends. Before the meeting begins, Haley hears some strange noises in her apartment. However, when she goes to investigate, she discovers that some of her cleaning devices fell against a door and knocked it open, thus relieving her fears.
It isn't long before the meeting begins and we soon discover why Haley is on edge. It turns out the reason for the meeting is Haley has gotten her friends together to hold a seance, which is to be led by Haley's friend Seylan (Seylan Baxter). Although Haley states that she has participated in seances with Seylan before, she still appears to be apprehensive. It becomes apparent that one reason for this apprehension may be that her friends have not participated in any seances and Haley is worried that they may not take the seance seriously.
Before long, the seance begins. Seylan explains that each person needs to light a candle to guide the spirit or spirits summoned within the circle of friends. She also explains that if anyone wants to cut off contact with a spirit, they can imagine a rope tied around their waist that leads to their front door. The person is to imagine cutting the rope when they no longer want to maintain contact with the spirit.
The seance gets into full swing and as Haley feared, her friends do not appear to take the seance seriously, thus creating a very dangerous situation for the group. The rest of the film follows the group as they navigate the consequences of their actions.
If You Like This Film, You May Also Like:
The Gallows (2015)
Paranormal Activity (2007)
As Above, So Below (2014)
Hell House LLC (2015)
*Discussion includes spoilers
I thought Host (2020) was well-acted and looked good. The demon the friends summoned was only shown in glimpses, which I thought added to the film overall. My favorite part was when Caroline used her selfie stick to look into the attic and her friends witnessed the legs of a person hanging in the attic. I really liked that the audience got to experience the more intense horror of what was happening to Caroline with the rest of the friends, before Caroline even knew what was going on. I thought that scene helped to draw me into the story even more.
The problems I had with the film are a little more personal as far as the story goes. I was disappointed that there wasn't more that the friends could have done to fight the demon and banish it. I think that if you are going to add elements of religion (such as demons) to a story, it's logical that you can add elements of religion like God, angels, etc. in order to fight the negative energy. I didn't think it was fair to the characters that they were drawn into a situation and had no way to fight against it. Also, as many of the friends that there were, I would have thought that one of them would have a Bible or cross or something in their house. It is possible that none of them were religious in any way, but not really plausible in my opinion.
I tell you what though, if I was a character in this film and even if I didn't believe in anything, I still would have been the first person to fashion a cross out of the legs of my dining room table and ask for a young priest and an old priest faster than you can say, "Demon, get the hell out of my house before I beat your third-degree burn unit victim ass with my new dining room table cross."
I also felt removed from the story in a way because I felt that Seylan's directions to the group weren't delivered in a way for them to receive the maximum amount of information to ensure their safety. I thought that if someone like Seylan, who is supposed to be an experienced medium and leader, wouldn't have missed telling the group that if a seance isn't taken seriously, it can lead to significant negative repercussions.
I kept thinking, what is this moron doing, leading this group? At one point, it's like she said to herself, "Oh no, I lost my internet connection, so I guess you morons are on your own. Byeeeeeeeeee!" Who would do that? I kept thinking, how many other people are no longer on this Earth because Seylan has other things to do than get a better internet service?
In the end, it is implied that everyone dies. I'm not positive that there won't be a sequel though, because we don't see the death of everyone. I'm not even sure that Seylan is dead and really isn't the cause of everything. I mean, she did leave them high and dry and is definitely suspicious based on my dissertation of her actions in the above paragraphs.
In the beginning of the film, when Haley hears the noises in her house, I really thought that Haley and Seylan were working together because they had summoned something evil in a past seance and were trying to get rid of it by using her friends (kind of like what happened in Paranormal Activity 2 (2010)).
I thought that maybe Haley was so adamant about her friends taking the seance seriously because she thought she could banish it by holding another seance. It was suspicious to me that the demon kept pushing the chair around, almost like it was telling Haley to sit in it. Also, it was strange that the demon dragged Haley down the hallway, but didn't hurt her even though it killed the majority of her friends in terrible ways. I'm not convinced that Haley isn't in on what happened in some way and is still alive, but we'll have to see.
What did you think of this film? Did you like it? Why or why not? What theories do you have about Haley? Please share your thoughts below!