Movie review: ‘Host’ brings horror to a zoom call


Alex Behunin, Assistant Arts & Entertainment Editor

It feels like Zoom and Skype have become a way of life during the COVID-19 pandemic. Well, we got our first movie that was shot on a Zoom call.

“Host” was directed and co-written by Rob Savage and released exclusively on Shudder on July 30.

The premise of the movie is straight forward; six friends hire a medium to hold a seance over a Zoom call during the COVID-19 pandemic. But when an evil spirit is conjured, things quickly go wrong.

“Host” is not the first of its kind. There have been a few movies to use video chat as a crutch, such as horror movies “Unfriended,” “Unfriended: Dark Web,” and critically acclaimed mystery, “Searching.” While it is easy to compare and contrast, “Host” is a bit more realistic and scarier.

Savage is clever with how he uses Zoom, as he plays with the reality of video chats: internet connection issues, difficulties with navigating Zoom and the changing of backgrounds and face filters.

The idea of the movie stemmed from a prank Savage was trying to pull off, according to an interview with While on a Zoom call with his friends, Savage said that he has been hearing sounds from the attic. When he went to investigate, a scary unknown monster popped up. He put the video online and it went viral.

The actors in “Host” are really impressive, especially for the circumstances of the movie. Savage had to direct the actors remotely. The actors are very relatable and their personalities make them worth connecting to and resonating with.

There is one rule above all else in horror movies — the movie must be scary. I am glad to say that “Host” is scary. It is really scary. Are there jump scares? Yes. Does most of the movie rely on jump scares? Yes. Do the jump scares work and are they earned? Yes! There aren’t cats that are jumping out of a closet for a cheap jump scare. The scares are set up well with suspense, tension, and unpredictability.

Jump scares aren’t the only type of scare in the movie. The atmosphere is terrifying and the tension is palpable. Throughout the movie there are objects that appear behind the characters that are spine tingling. For example, one minute the movie will focus on a specific character, then it will cut to another character and when it cuts back to the former, a chair will be missing in the background or a shadow will be in the background.

“Host” is tight and crisp and uses every second effectively. There isn’t a scene where you feel like it was tacked on. The last 25 minutes is an intense horror experience that will stay with you after the credits roll.

The movie is available on the streaming service Shudder and currently holds an 100% on Rotten Tomatoes after two weeks.