Entertainment Earth


Superhost (Review)


Writer/ Director: Brandon Christenson
Cast: Sara Canning, Osric Chau, Gracie Gillam, Barbara Crampton
Year: 2021
Min: 83

Teddy (Osric Chau) and Claire (Sara Canning) are a couple who run their own travel vlog named Superhost. They have been losing viewers as of late and need to get their numbers back up. The latest place they are staying at and reviewing seems awesome and gorgeous. It is run by Rebecca (Gracie Gillam), who is eager for a good review from the duo. She seems nice, though very eccentric at first. But, it becomes clearer and clearer that she is insane, and the couple's lives are suddenly very much in danger. 

Superhost is a 2021 horror/ thriller with slasher elements from writer/ director Brandon (Z) Christenson. The movie throws in some found footage along with the more traditional third person camera perspective. It also has a great sense of humor, that is sometimes deliciously dark. On top of all of this, the film also serves as a pitch-perfect parody of vloggers, while still achieving some wonderfully creepy moments.

Christenson is at the top of his directing game. You can see this from the very get-go, with a nice little title scene that effectively sets up the movie. The vlog scenes feel, look, and sound like something you see on Youtube. This includes the whole "like and subscribe" line, which we have heard and seen a thousand times over. As he proved in "Z", he is very apt at having a creepy tone. A great example of this are the shots of our antagonist appearing at nighttime. He also very effectively uses his camera framing and movement to further enhance the movie's mood and feel. 

At a brisk 83 minutes it is very well paced and is always a great time to be had. The flick very effectively mixes the hilarious with the suspenseful. There are some really funny moments in the movie and others that are unquestionably filled with tension. It also doesn't fuck once it really gets going and has a killer and absolutely smashing climax. The ending is the perfect one for this film, making it end on a very high note.

There is a real fun attitude and feel to the flick, thanks in large part to the small but excellent cast. They really bring the strong script by Christenson to life, sucking you right into the story. Osric Chau and Sara Canning are very likeable as the couple. There is a real grounded feeling to their relationship, which makes them highly relatable. Genre legend and all around goddess Barbara (Re-Animator, Jakob's Wife) Crampton is awesome in her small, but actually pivotal role of Vera, a former superhost with a grudge of her own. But, it is Gracie Gillam's Rebecca that really steals the show. She is effortlessly both creepy and likable, many times being both in the same scene. In some ways, she is equivalent to a sort of female version of Norman Bates or The Stepfather, a character both likable and scary. Though, she is admit ably more fun or funny than either of two, classic psychopaths. 

Another aspect I really liked was the score by Blitz//Berlin (Psycho Goreman, The Void). The ominous music combines nicely and fittingly with the excellent cinematography, handled by Clayton ("Z") Moore. A great example of this is the aforementioned opening which made me recall The Shining. The superb music also does a nice job of setting up foreboding moments in the movie. 

Superhost is an incredibly fun horror/ thriller with some great, sometimes dark humor and is among the year's best. It manages to keep its tonal shifts flawlessly mixing the fun and the funny with the intense and creepy. The small but excellent cast really deliver the goods. But, it is Gilliam's Rebecca that truly shines and comes off as the horror villain of 2021. And, honestly, by the excellent ending, I was demanding more of her! The climax that proceeds it is suspenseful, shocking, and violent. Working also as a parody of vlogging, this winner works on multiple levels. You can catch it when it starts streaming exclusively on Shudder on September 2, 2021.