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  Superhost Dislike And Unsubscribe
Year: 2021
Director: Brandon Christensen
Stars: Sara Canning, Osric Chau, Gracie Gilliam, Barbara Crampton
Genre: HorrorBuy from Amazon
Rating:  7 (from 1 vote)
Review: Claire (Sara Canning) and Teddy (Osric Chau) are YouTube vloggers who present their own show entitled Superhost, where they travel around the country and review holiday destinations, not always flatteringly, but always with one eye on the amount of likes and subscribers. The trouble with that is, it's fine when those two signifiers of popularity are rising to a steady height, but not so good when those subscribers start to abandon you and opt for alternative videos to watch instead. And this is what is happening, therefore Teddy has an idea: he will propose marriage to Claire, that type of thing always gives channels a boost, and it will be a surprise as well. But their destination, a house in the woods, holds more surprises than that...

The satirising of internet vloggers is almost as old as vlogging itself, and usually implemented for comedy purposes, but with Superhost it was horror that we were here for. Not that it was a found footage chiller, although there was an aspect of that there was no way they could find to excuse the camera running all the time, so we got to see what was occurring when the camera was switched off as well. The characters were well-sketched in writer and director Brandon Christensen's screenplay: slightly bitchy Claire was the judgemental one, while the more easygoing Teddy was the wacky one, at least on the screen, but then there was their, well, host for the swanky abode, and she was Rebecca, played with great relish by Gracie Gilliam as a well-telegraphed crazy person.

Once you knew this was a horror movie, you would be discerning where the shocks would stem from, and Rebecca came across as the most likely candidate, so in a film with no real surprise twists - though there were twists nevertheless - Gilliam was all too happy to play up to your expectations and she did so with scene-stealing aplomb. Really this was an update to the new millennium of the old Vincent Price movie Theatre of Blood, where he played a Shakespearean actor so infuriated with bad reviews that he sets out to murder the critics who gave them. We are aware Claire and Teddy do not always play on a level playing field when a previous host of theirs (Barbara Crampton!) appears and tries to instigate some argy-bargy after somehow tracking them down, so their travel reviews are by no means constructive and lean strongly towards the self-serving.

Barbara is sent packing by Rebecca, who seems friendly enough but a little "off", grinning too much, far too peppy, but with a tendency to get a blank look in her eyes as she goes off on some reverie of remembering some past... incidents. But she is actually the Vincent Price character in that she has been sent to judge the judges, turning the tables and observing them on the multiple security cameras dotted around that house, and possibly the surrounding forest, even making comments on the speaker for maximum paranoia. By the time the couple decide it is probably time to make their excuses and leave, Rebecca has her own scheme in action, which leads to violence that, while used sparingly, was pretty full-on with effects that belied the low budget. The final twist was predictable too, but mainly because it was so believable, you can well accept this would be how subscribers would react to that pertinent video; one supposes we should be glad they were not encouraging Rebecca in her spree as well. Overall, a neat package of social media commentary and old-fashioned slasher movie, nicely achieved.

[Superhost - Premieres 2 September 2021 on Shudder.]
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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