A pair of travel vloggers, with the watchers dwindling, decide to make a star out of the perky, crazily eccentric “superhost” at the secluded mountain home they’re currently staying at to record their latest episode. Big mistake.
Superhost, the latest bit of horrific craziness from writer/director Brandon Christensen (Z), is a great idea and a stupendous performance aching for just a wee bit more emotional heft and character development to make it something special. As it is, this is still a mostly entertaining riff on vlogger culture and the zoomer mentality of reaching for any sort of fame no matter what the cost, featuring a climax that overflows in the creative use of gore and a showcases a twisted sense of humor that kept me happily engaged.
Once-popular travel vloggers Teddy (Osric Chau) and Claire (Sara Canning) have reserved a secluded mountain home to record their latest episode. He’s planning to propose sometime during the shoot. She’s obsessing over their dwindling follower count and desperately trying to think up new ideas that would allow them to once again go viral.
Enter Rebecca (Gracie Gillam). She’s their “superhost,” the person watching over the home and ensuring the pair have a perfect vacation. There’s something strange about her, though, an energetic intensity and an eagerness to make sure goes smoothly for Teddy and Claire that’s so absurd they just have to get the woman on camera. They’re going to make her the centerpiece of their latest show whether she likes it or not, never thinking for a second that Rebecca is not-so-quietly hiding a facet of her personality that borders on the psychotic.
Chau and Canning give it their best shot, but their characters never truly come alive. Their personalities never develop that much beyond what is initially presented. Even when things fly off the wall they still don’t evolve much past thoroughly terrified, which is honestly to be expected, but because I hardly cared about them to begin with – especially her – I can’t say their survival when the blood started to freely flow was all that important to me.
Thankfully Gillam is so extraordinary it honestly ends up not mattering very much that Christensen’s screenplay feels slightly undercooked. She’s mesmerizing, playing into Rebecca’s eccentric quirks with jovial ferocity. Gillam is as scary as she is enchanting, and even though she’s likely to stab you with a hunting knife before the night is out, gosh darn it if spending a few minutes with her is almost worth the risk of evisceration.
Barbara Crampton pops in for a brief if memorable cameo as a former superhost who holds a grudge against Teddy and Claire, and once the carnage starts Christensen slams his foot on the accelerator and refuses to let up. But while there is plenty of fun to be had here, Superhost still lacks substance, making the film enjoyable in the moment, but, other than Gillam, not especially memorable as far as the grand scheme of things is concerned.
Superhost is presented on a 50GB Blu-ray MPEG-4 AVC Video with a 2.35:1 1080p transfer.
This Blu-ray features an English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 soundtrack and includes optional English SDH and Spanish subtitles.
Extras here include:
Audio Commentary with writer/director Brandon Christensen
Behind-the-Scenes of Superhost (10:31)
Shooting in a Pandemic (6:39)
Superhost Visual FX (2:46)
Behind the Scenes Photo Gallery (1:32)
“Scaredycats” Episode 1 (1:21)
“Scaredycats” Episode 2 (2:39)
This release also includes a 30-day free trial for the streaming service Shudder.
Superhost is a lot of fun primarily thanks to Gracie Gillam’s effervescently larger-than-life performance overflowing in unhinged villainy. This Blu-ray release has a nice selection of extras, and for fans, this disc is worth picking up.