A PERFECT HOST – Film Review

A group of friends rent an isolated lake house owned by a fitness-obsessed man with mysterious intentions.

One of the biggest tell-tale signs that A Perfect Host was going to end up being an amazingly bad movie is shown to us right in the opening scene as a deep-voiced narrator spouts endless expository dialogue and talks down to the audience while we witness a slew of shots of the outdoors and various different neighborhoods.

For some, this opening might set the tone for the rest of the film – a chilling, dark, cold opening that doesn’t give you any breathing room, and throws you in with the pack of wolves right from the start. But for others, it will come across as extremely lazy, incredibly rushed, and a poor form of storytelling. That’s how I viewed the opening, and really, the entire movie after it.

The instant it starts off, it is upsettingly obvious that the entire movie is going to be rushed. With a running time of only one hour and sixteen minutes, including credits, there really isn’t a lot of room for any kind of character growth whatsoever. In fact, the characters here are some of the most one-note characters I have seen in a horror movie in a long time.

Koko Marshall as Avery in A Perfect Host (2020).

They don’t have any sort of backstory solely because writer/director Chad Werner was too focused on keeping the film quite compact and tight that it created a problem. The movie feels relatively short and has some sequences that I’m sure people will enjoy if they are willing to turn their brains completely off, but for those that are looking for a genuinely fun and interesting horror flick are going to have to resist the urge to turn it off in the first ten minutes.

But all of the poor character elements aside, it just simply tells a boring and uninteresting story. It is painfully familiar and borrows off of so many other, and better mind you, horror films from the past. The premise of a group of people going to an isolated lake house is nothing new, that’s for sure. It would’ve been a little bit better had they taken that concept and injected some new life into it (such as the excellent Cabin in the Woods), but they never do that.

Instead, it goes the predictable and formulaic route at every possible turn. The “horror” scenes are completely unscary and rely far too much on jump scares. To make matters worse, the acting, line delivery, and the dialogue, in general, are all terrible are always come across as cringe-worthy.

Online, I have seen some people say the film is self-aware and admittedly over-the-top, and while that might be the case, it doesn’t benefit the film whatsoever. I’ve seen lots of great films that were silly and self-aware, but this wasn’t one of those movies. The only good thing it has going for it is its running time, which comes as both a blessing and a curse. It’s a blessing because it means you won’t have to put up with the film for long, but it is also a curse because it means that the film has absolutely no room for growth.

A Perfect Host suffers greatly from its short running time and boasts an incredibly silly, over-the-top script and features painfully boring horror sequences.

Overall Grade: F

MPAA Rating: N/A

Cast: Chad Werner, Brady Burleson Johnson, Koko Marshall, Jeff McQuitty, Jon Michael Simpson, Emily Hiott, Tyler Johnson, Kasey Givens

Directed by: Chad Werner

Distributed by: Dark Star Pictures

Release Date: N/A

Running Time: 76 minutes

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