In this day and age, we are more often than not putting our everyday tasks and lives into the hands of strangers. With Lyft and Uber, we can have a stranger drive us to any location rather than taking a taxi. With Instacart, Postmates, and Grubhub, we allow strangers to handle our food and bring it to us, rather than a delivery person straight from the source. We buy products from strangers off of eBay and Etsy. We hire strangers for services through Craigslist and Task Rabbit. And more recently, we’ve decided to trust strangers by giving us a place to stay through the use of Airbnb. All of this is good and fine; for the most part, we feel protected. We have “legal” rights and “fine prints” through the services we pay them with. But there’s always that chance that these strangers are just STRANGE – fine prints can’t save you from a stranger with malicious intent. The Lonely Host reminds us of that.
The Lonely Host is a story of Silvia (Lulu Antariska) coming to Los Angeles to visit her girlfriend, Gloria (Katie Featherstone.) Upon arrival to her Airbnb, the host, Rebecca (Emily C. Chang), is a bit unsettling. She’s a hugger, she’s an optimist, she’s the girliest of the girly, and as the title suggests seems to be a bit lonely. She talks to Silvia about her dog, who likes to pee on new people, her neighbor Billy (Craig Lee Thomas), who takes the dog out to help with his peeing problem. All these things seem trivial and having nothing to do with her stay. Silvia feels sorry for her but also can’t help but feel creeped out by her intensity. She remains polite until things seem too out of place. Rebecca isn’t one for privacy, asks too many questions, and doesn’t seem to understand the difference between new friends and tenant.
The Lonely Host, to me, seems reminiscent of Stephen King’s Misery. Sweet lady, lover of knick-knacks, clean, organized, provider of everything your tenant may need– also with a bit of a Norman Bates vibe — less masturbation. Is our host Rebecca into hobbling as well? Who’s to say? She’s got those crazy eyes for it.
All in all, I thoroughly enjoyed this watch. It takes you down one path but switches gears to another. Twist endings are my most favorite endings. It’s shot well, no need for crazy effects, and its simplicity adds to the believability. The performances are superb. Each actor has heart and vulnerability. Most notably, Emily C. Chang, as Rebecca, plays the lonely host with insanity and a touch of sadness behind her rainbow decorated apartment- she wants a friend. Poor gal. Don’t we all?
I give The Lonely Host 8 out of 10 inspirational quote posters for great acting, interesting twist, and reminding me why I don’t travel.