A fleetingly entertaining view of the consequences of a life lived online.

Osric Chau as Teddy, Sara Canning as Claire-Superhost_Photo Credit: Shudder

Synopsis: With their follower count dwindling, travel vloggers Teddy and Claire pivot to creating viral content around their most recent “superhost,” Rebecca, who wants more from the duo than a great review.

Sometimes, all you need from a horror film is a diverting enough story, some fun performances and a decent helping of gore. Superhost can provide all of these things, but I have to admit the film’s events did not stay with me for long afterwards.

Teddy (Osric Chau) and Claire (Sara Canning) are travel vloggers. Under the banner Superhost, the pair review the places they stay in, and more importantly, the characters that play host to them. Their focus on views and engagement over people’s feelings has already landed them in hot water with one person, but things are about to get much worse.

Director and writer Brandon Christensen is clearly having a great deal of fun here, playing with the nature of the threats toward the couple, complete with rug-pulls of varying success. The script is punchy, with little wasted motion and sets out what it intends to do at the outset. Due to that playful swerving, nothing feels like a huge surprise, but the cast are fully engaged in their roles. From films like Z there is a sense that Christensen knows the beats he needs to hit and does so ably, if lacking in a little personal stylistic flair.

Sara Canning as self-serving Claire works well, especially when playing against Osric Chau’s Teddy as he comes to terms with there being more to life than engagement analytics. Gracie Gillam arguably has the most to work with as ‘superhost’ Rebecca, in a performance that veers from excitable intensity to altogether darker behaviour. Barbara Crampton has a fun cameo as Vera, a women previously scorned by the couple. The small-scale of the cast means the performances are given space to grow as the attention is focused on them.

There is not much new to be found in the critiques of online behaviour and obsession here. We know that vapid influencer culture exists and can have a detrimental effect on the vloggers as well as their subjects. We also know that the greater intimacy of hosting people in homes, rather than the more communal experience of a hotel makes it personal to the owners of the space. These themes surface throughout the film and while there is relatively little depth to them, it provides enough grounding to hang the more energetic, horror-focused material on.

Competent and driven by fun performances, Superhost may not be your most memorable stay, but does enough to provide some escapism.

3 out of 5 stars

3 out of 5 stars

Superhost arrives on Shudder (North America, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand) on September 2.

Author: ScaredSheepless

Film and television fan, with a particular love for horror.

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