Sommerleigh Pollonais, Horror Head Writer
Plot: With their follower count dwindling travel vloggers Teddy and Claire pivot to creating viral content around their most recent “superhost” Rebecca, who wants more from the duo than a great review.
Review: Some horror movies are scary while others are creepy, and Shudder’s Superhost falls in the latter category. But what starts out quite promising falls prey to by-the-numbers horror tropes and unfortunately this takes what could’ve been a strong companion piece to movies like the incredibly well-done Creep (and Creep 2) and delivers just another good, but not great, genre film.
We start out with a couple of travel bloggers named Teddy (Osric Chau) and Claire (Sara Canning). Their channel has a decent number of subscribers but lately their numbers have been dropping, much to Claire’s dismay. So the couple decide to rent a beautiful home in the middle of nowhere, one that has stellar reviews online, with the hopes of finding something their viewers haven’t seen before.
And while the house itself lives up to the hype the owner, known simply as “Rebecca”, immediately comes off as a bit odd. Actually “odd” is putting it mildly; this chick has crazy written ALL OVER HER. And although Teddy is reluctant to participate Claire thinks they’ve struck gold with this oddball “superhost” and wants to use her for content. The rest basically writes itself.
While the location is stunning and the movie itself is well-shot with its use of both standard camerawork and found footage style, the strength of this film rests solely on the shoulders of Gracie Gillam (Fright Night 2011 remake, The Vampire Diaries, Z Nation) as Rebecca. From the moment she steps into frame she gives off crazy vibes as her eyes seem overly shiny and her smile never quite sits right on her face. Gillam delivers a fantastic performance as the off-kilter Rebecca to the point I have to wonder why these people didn’t pack up and leave after Day 1.
I kept thinking back to a movie with a similar character, the aforementioned Creep starring Mark Duplass. If you’ve never seen this movie, I highly recommend checking both it and the sequel out. It’s not your average horror movie (and I mean that in the best way possible) and Duplass as the titular Creep would probably want to date, or at the very least share notes with, Gillam’s Rebecca.
The other actors are fine in their roles here but don’t offer much in terms of personality. Claire is basically a “Karen” type and her boyfriend Teddy is a pushover. They never grow beyond their initial introduction, which might be fair considering the events occur over a few days. But because of this we don’t get much reason to root for them. Genre queen Barbara Crampton pops up for a minute or so, which is disappointing considering who she is. But she does what she has to do and her character has arguably the most memorable scene in the movie, so that’s something.
Superhost has a strong first act and a solid second one but the final act devolves into your typical crazy-killer-in-the-woods. And in the process all of the mystery and chilling atmosphere that made Rebecca an engaging antagonist goes out the window, and in its place we’re left with another mediocre slasher with an ending that sets us up for a sequel. While I wouldn’t mind seeing Gracie Gillam return as Rebecca, I hope writer and director Brandon Christensen sticks closer to the aspects of the story that ups the creepiness and stays away from the those elements that you could find in a million similar movies.
Sommer’s Score: 6 out of 10
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Sommerleigh of the House Pollonais. First of Her Name. Sushi Lover, Queen of Horror Movies, Comic Books and Binge Watching Netflix. Mother of two beautiful black cats named Vader and Kylo. I think eating Popcorn at the movies should be mandatory, PS4 makes the best games ever, and I’ll be talking about movies until the zombie apocalypse comes.
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