Oh look, there’s a new entry in the ever-growing ‘crazy bitch’ subgenre of horror! Joining personal favorites including Poison Ivy, The Hand That Rocks the Cradle, and The Devil in the Flesh, Superhost goes full 90s mode, and allows Gracie Gillam ample space to play a psychotic, overly enthusiastic host to two lovebird bloggers. Gillam lovingly pulls from the greats (think: Kathy Bates in Misery) for her unhinged turn as Rebecca.
Teddy (Osric Chau) and longtime girlfriend Claire (A Series of Unfortunate Events standout Sara Canning) are the hosts of YouTube channel Superhost! They stay at and review vacation rentals, but the lack of spice to their content has caused them to shed subscribers dramatically. Teddy is planning to secretly propose to Claire during this week’s episode, which takes them deep into the hills of Colorado for a secluded stay in a massive cabin. Recommended by one of their rabid listeners, things get a little wonky for our vloggers when they realize the door code has been changed as soon as they arrive.
The host of their stay, Rebecca (Gillam), comes to their rescue with a huge grin on her face. She has no problem going above and beyond—as long as Teddy and Claire are planning to give her a good review. The place has everything one could want: big windows, a rustic kitchen, a short walk to beautiful mountain views, and… security cameras everywhere? Their host’s erratic behavior forms a narrative for the vlog that Claire is more than happy to play up: their new superhost “might be crazy!” With spotty cell service and poor WiFi, Teddy and Claire are at the mercy of their surroundings as it becomes clear that checking out may be easier said than done…
The mystery of the story comes secondary to the thrilling fun around every corner. The sharpness of the script, which feels quite meta at times, is a joy to follow. The small scale, limited cast makes even a small cameo into a stand-out sequence. Teddy and Claire ruined a lady’s life and destroyed her business from their videos—a memorable cameo from Barbara Crampton, as she tracks down the couple at their middle-of-nowhere destination. Her face off with Rebecca as she screams and threatens her is a definite highlight of the entire film.
When a final act kicks off in an explosive burst of gory violence, how can one not fall in love? Superhost goes to some shockingly gory places, and relishes in its bleakness with a fittingly dark ending. Gracie Gillam has cemented her place in the horror hall of fame through an on-camera interview highlighting staring off into space and a scary-enthusiastic performance. That interview segment remains my favorite in the entire runtime. One thing’s for sure, I will never forget this instantly iconic like of dialogue: “I’m not a hero, I’m a vlogger!”
Superhost opens its doors exclusively to Shudder on Thursday, September 2nd.