Hosts is a British sadistic supernatural horror-thriller that’s packed with a great cast, some gruesome murders, and an original story. Some plot points appeared to be unexplored or skipped which felt disappointing, but the cast really brought the heat and held their own making this film worth a watch.
Hosts gets off to a pretty slow start. It took almost 30 minutes for the film to introduce all the main characters and for the real conflict to set in to get the plot rolling. This can work well for certain slow-burn films, but in the case of Hosts, it made me struggle to remain interested. But once that 30 minutes was up and the action started I was right back in again. As soon as the action starts (you’ll know when) it is a crushing blow that sets the chaos train in motion. And once that train leaves the station it never stops. Full steam ahead.
Hosts follows a family and their young married neighbors as they prepare to share a Christmas dinner together. After some mysterious events, the family falls victim to violent murders in their own home. There was wonderful chemistry between Neal Ward and Samantha Loxley as the young married neighbors Jack and Lucy. Ward and Loxley appear as a convincingly loving couple and when things take a turn for the worse, they work off each other beautifully as homicidal beings. Each taking a different (yet complementary to the other’s) approach.
The entire cast was superb. The talent bench runs deep in Hosts and each performance was a pleasure to watch. All the characters have unique side stories and characteristics that weave themselves into the main plot, creating wonderful character development, depth, and intrigue for each character. This talented cast made excellent use of these layers and embodied these characters flawlessly.
The music was INCREDIBLE! The distorted Christmas carols added so much to an already horrifying scene. That rendition of “Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy” is definitely going to haunt me. Along with terrifying music, Hosts is visually quite stunning. There are some phenomenal close-up shots during tense moments in the film. This fearlessness to take a pause allows the viewer to really soak in the emotion of what is happening. This type of shot only really lands if the cast is good and as I mentioned earlier they more than earned that title. One exchange between Eric (Lee Hunter) and Lauren (Nadia Lamin) was especially mentally grueling. The scene was a little long, but this is redeemed by this powerful performance given by both Hunter and Lamin.
Hosts is a very engaging concept but I felt the execution fell short of its full potential. It lacked a certain “oomph” that was promised early on in the film. The supernatural aspect of this horror film is not explored thoroughly enough. There were allusions to the malicious beings using humans as their hosts, but their existence and purpose was not fully featured. We only get tiny little glimpses, a cryptic story told by Lucy, and a video used as a window to possession (which was perhaps the most confusing aspect of all). This may not be an issue for some viewers but I found myself desperate for more details and by the end, I felt left out of a really awesome secret.
Overall Hosts had a unique story and a GREAT cast. The supernatural beings could have been fleshed out more, but that is not enough to overshadow the dynamic performances in this movie. Hosts is now available on Video on Demand streaming platforms.
7 out of 10