Director/Writer: Brandon Christensen
Cast: Gracie Gillam, Sara Canning, Osric Chau, Barbara Crampton
One day I'm going to make a list of movies on why you shouldn't rent Air BNB's and this one will be going on the list.
Superhost is about two millennial youtube star wannabe's, Claire and Teddy, who spend all their money on adventures for their travel vlog rather than paying their own rent. Apparently buying an engagement ring also trumps paying your own bills. Who said potentially being homeless can't be romantic?
Teddy and Claire arrive at their latest vacation spot and without hesitation the video camera is out to record their thoughts. I'm not sure just how many thoughts you can have from pulling into a driveway, most at least unpack their bags first. Right after they realise they're unable to get into the house. Enter BettyLou52 - real name Rebecca - she's seen them on the security cameras and come to say hello. The fact she's got there so quick on foot is obviously not a red flag at all. Once inside, Teddy uses the bathroom and returns to tell Rebecca the toilet isn't flushing. Rebecca is all concerned about the review they'll leave and says she'll be back tomorrow to fix it.
The bad times continue the following morning when they discover their YouTube channel has been demonitized. Rebecca arrives to fix the toilet and drops the "I hope this doesn't affect your review" line again. Honestly, this could be a drinking game. Later that night they're woken up to noises coming from downstairs. Teddy goes down to investigate with the noise coming from the broken toilet where he finds a set of false teeth. Seemingly unfazed he goes back to bed. The next morning their channel is restored and all is right with the world. That is until Teddy goes downstairs and finds Rebecca in the kitchen making them pancakes. She's so stressed about them having a bad time that she wanted to do something nice for them. You know, so she gets a good review. Later while the couple eat at the table, Claire looks up to the security camera and says "thanks for breakfast". The security cameras reply "You are so welcome". You'd think this might be a good time to realise you should watch what you say in the house but not Claire, nope she goes on camera to start talking about how insane their host is. She's that person in a horror movie where you wonder if they'd still all be alive at the end if she just knew when to keep her mouth shut.
The serenity is smashed by a rock to the window. They rush outside to find Vera (Barbara Crampton) who in her completely rational state has followed them here for a confrontation. They gave her home a shitty review and allegedly ruined her business so it makes perfect sense to enact revenge on someone else's home. Rebecca arrives on the scene and scares Vera off. Suddenly Claire has had a change of heart and has decided Rebecca is a badass and they all go inside to do the host interview where Rebecca tells them a charming story of some old couple that stayed at her house. There were smiles, there were tears, there was screaming. She covered the entire emotional range.
It's the day of the proposal and that goes about as well as expected when you're proposing to a woman whose brain only functions as far as what should be on video or not. She's not actually living in the moment and it's proven in this scene. She's unable to enjoy the scenery for 30 seconds without filming it with commentary and you feel sorry for Teddy because here he is proposing to her and she thinks it's a gimmick for their channel. To be fair though, I'm not sure Teddy can read the room because nothing has suggested this is a romantic getaway. They've butted heads a few times while away.
After that disaster, they return to the house to find mail at their door including a letter for 'Betty and Lou'. Apparently it took a letter for them to decide this is a bad situation (and you know, not the false teeth in the toilet) and they pack their bags and get out of there. They don't get far down the street before seeing Rebecca standing in the middle of the road. She insists they need to get their camera out because she has a surprise for them. Proving yet again that Claire only thinks as a video camera, she thinks this is a great idea whereas anyone else with a few functioning brain cells would be getting the fuck out of there. Everything that happens during the last 30 minutes can most definitely be considered her fault.
SUPERHOST is a horror/thriller but I'm not sure I'd call it much of either. Maybe I'm not the right target audience because I'm too old to care about YouTubers or to understand why so many act like their life depends on having thousands of followers. Honestly this couple have over 132k followers and Claire is talking about quitting because "nobody is watching". It actually pisses me off because it shows how entitled they are and I see it a lot on social media too. People with huge followings who then complain because they lost followers while still having 100's of 1000's of followers, they just aren't grateful for those who are following them. They focus on who left or how many aren't liking their posts. They're too busy creating content they think will get them followers rather than creating content that actually makes them happy. My instagram hasn't budged from 1400 followers in a couple years. I'd love more followers. I'd have a better chance of selling my art if I could reach more people!
One upside to this film is there's no use of jumpscares anywhere. There's no scary dramatic music or loud sounds to manipulate you into jumping but there's no tension build up either. There's a couple weird bits with Rebecca but nothing to have you on the edge of your seat wondering what's going to happen next and Teddy and Claire never give an impression of being scared by anything going on. It doesn't mean I'm not invested in the film, in fact if I didn't know better I'd think this was a comedy. The horror element kicks in during the last 20 minutes and it sucks because one scene is cool but it's over in seconds. Real blink and you'll miss it stuff. Would have been cool if they lingered just a little bit since the horror is why we're watching this movie in the first place.
The character Rebecca was my favourite part of the entire film. Gracie Gillam really nailed being an over the top nutter and she made me laugh quite a few times. She just had these huge psycho eyes, her smile is robotic and there's moments when she's talking that she just freezes, completely unmoving like when you're computer has lag before she starts up again. It's unnerving. Towards the end of the film I decided if there was ever a cross over that needed to happen - It's Superhost and Creep. I need to see Rebecca and Josef in a room together.