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Spooky Shudder Spotlight: ‘Superhost’

Spooky Shudder Spotlight: ‘Superhost’

Spooky Shudder Spotlight: ‘Superhost’
September 18
12:00 2021

It’s nearly the best time of the year, and as Halloween festivities begin to ramp up, I thought it would be fun to pick out some gore-filled gems. Shudder is a beautifully constructed streaming service — and it is so great I even have a whole story dedicated to it here. Every week from now until the end of October, I will be reviewing the newest original content from Shudder in hopes more recognition is given to smaller horror creators. This week, I am going to be talking about the social media-centered “Superhost” from director Brandon Christensen.

A film is only as good as its weakest actors, and when there are only four actors in the film, there is a lot of reliance on every single performance. “Superhost” follows travel bloggers Claire and Teddy, played by Sara Canning and Osric Chau. It seems like an ordinary trip until Gracie Gillam’s character, Rebecca, takes her hosting skills to questionable lengths. Throw in a Barbara Crampton cameo for slasher fans everywhere and you have a really fun horror flick. All the performances deliver and Gillam stands out in the best way possible. This does not feel like one of those small horror movies destined to have terrible acting. There are motivations for these characters, and while they may seem a bit two-dimensional at times, it never takes away from the bigger picture.

The plot is nothing too complex. It is a modern take on a home invasion movie, where the desire for online validation is the driving force of the antagonist. It may be a bit too on the nose for some, but after seeing what some people will do for a following online, I wouldn’t call this film too unrealistic. It is so simple, yet so effective. Every time we see a security camera in public, the fear of being watched comes out of nowhere. This movie knows how to get under the skin of the audience without trying too hard. The simplest thing, such as a wind chime slowly echoing at night, can send the biggest shiver down the viewer’s spine. The scares got a couple of jumps out of me, and there was an applaudable amount of practical effects used. Even when the movie has comedic moments, there is no hesitation when the tone jolted back to the horror side of things.

If you accept the fact you are watching a movie with a small budget and a cast of four, you may find yourself enjoying the movie by the final act. I will always give movies like this one a chance because you may find a diamond in the rough. Movies like “Superhost” don’t get big theatrical releases, but the film may gain a fanbase if enough people enjoy it. What makes the horror community so great is the payoff of a good movie isn’t the critic’s score or the box office earning, it is just about the fun you have while watching. Sure, some jokes don’t land and maybe the characters are flat at times, but if you know what you are getting into, this is an enjoyable film. As far as major criticisms go, there is an attempt to contribute some commentary on how everyone is craving an internet following, but by the end, I thought the attempt was a little underwhelming. 

It was nice to take a break from watching big-budget films. A movie like “Superhost” isn’t going to scratch an itch for everyone, but there is no harm in giving it a shot. Of all the streaming services, Shudder easily gives the most for the least. For the next couple of weeks, I can’t wait to see what other fun gems I can find hiding in Shudder’s log. As for “Superhost,” I can’t think of a better way to start this series. It’s a specific taste, but one I enjoyed. If you are looking for a way to get into the Halloween spirit, look no further than this home invasion horror from Shudder.

Final rating: 3.5/5 

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Jaden Oberkrom

Jaden Oberkrom

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