Sinister Screens

Hosts (2020) ★★½

Hosts is a low budget supernatural horror film that takes place around Christmastime. Directed by Richard Oakes and Adam Leader, this stars both Neal Ward and Samantha Loxley who were featured in one of my recently discovered horror comedy gems, Feed Me.

Hosts, however, is not a comedy. It’s brutally sick and more serious than the aforementioned Feed Me. In fact, there were two scenes in this movie that were done so brutally well and set up so nicely that it shall surely bring about fits of nervous laughter for any of us bent horror fans.

The main problem I found with this film is that it is really difficult to grasp Neal Ward playing the more serious, brutal character as any glance at him brings about a disconnection back to a more comedic perspective. Samantha Loxley, on the other hand, plays a possessed woman rather gorgeously and effectively and played a key role in both scenes that I mentioned that really struck a chord with me as brutal and almost flawlessly executed. It’s not that Neal Ward isn’t a solid actor (he is—and was brilliant as Lionel Flack in Feed Me), but there are just some actors or actresses whose screen presences dictate a certain mood—and Ward’s presence is almost at odds with his characters at times, which caused me to not be able to suspend disbelief throughout.

On the flip side, if Jack Nicholson played the Pope or Jesus Christ, it just wouldn’t work well for me to believe that either. Jack’s face and screen presence is almost tailored made for a role like The Shining. Ward in this this movie can be creepy, but it comes off more in the comedic spectrum.

This movie is quite close to making one of my perennial Christmas watches—and maybe just to revisit those two brutal scenes. But the movie as a whole just lacks some connection on my part. Why was this happening seemed iffy and some dramatic dialogues seem to go on a bit too long. The odd behavior of the guests and how long the hosts didn’t really become concerned was far-fetched. And then there was the entire reveal of who Neal Ward’s character Jack truly was that seemed unnecessary and not truly a part of the reason why the events were unfolding.

Review: ★★½ (out of 5)

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