Written and directed by Brandon Christensen, Superhost stars Osric Chau and Sara Canning as Teddy and Claire, a couple who stay at vacation rentals and film video reviews for their channel. When they encounter Rebecca (Gracie Gillam), the host of the house where they are staying, they wonder if she’s a little creepy or if it’s just them. This is a cool idea for a horror film as it seems like Teddy and Claire will fight Rebecca and end up victorious, becoming horror movie survivors who others can root for. It’s also fun to imagine learning more about the couple’s life as vloggers since this is such a unique career choice and involves a lot of blood, sweat, tears, hard work, and passion.
This isn’t what ends up happening and the movie ends up feeling pretty dull. Unfortunately, while the premise of Superhost is a cool one, there are many reasons why the movie falls flat, and horror fans might come away from it wishing that there was a bit more going on.
The premise of Superhost is a really fascinating one that could have resulted in a much better (and more terrifying) horror movie. But the main problem is that the film is very one-note and doesn’t go further than telling audiences that the host of the vacation home is scary and unstable. Instead of sharing with audiences why Teddy and Claire wanted to get into travel vlogging, or sharing more about their relationship and their channel, the movie shows them walking around the property and feeling freaked out. This isn’t that compelling to watch. It can be interesting when the horror villain wins out, but with Superhost, it feels like something is missing.
Rebecca also seems to lack a real and intriguing motive and could be developed more as a villain. While audiences find out that she was living in the house and murdered the two owners when they wished that she would move out, that doesn’t really explain her killing spree. When a killer is simply creepy and unhinged and enjoys murdering people, it’s tough to care because there just isn’t enough there. While Rebecca isn’t likely to be a horror villain who always survives since she is human, she could have a better backstory and clearer motivation that makes more sense. The movie is also really lacking in scares. There aren’t any fun jump scares and while the house looks creepy at night since it’s in the woods, there isn’t much else going on that would excite fans of the genre.
Perhaps Superhost would be more successful if it really leaned into the idea of the two main characters being travel video bloggers. Since Teddy seems to have a more chill personality and Claire worries a lot about how the channel is doing, perhaps they could argue more and there could be a lot more tension in their relationship. This would give audiences a bit more to think about. As it is, the couple seems to be happy and Teddy wants to propose, but the main characters don’t feel as well-crafted as they could be. Why is this one vacation house so special? What brought Teddy and Claire to this kind of career? There is definitely a lot of potential here.
The movie could also have been shot in a more unique way. Found footage horror movies are often a great way to tell the story, and that could work here. Claire is upset that the channel is losing followers and she isn’t sure what to do to get that count up again. If the movie took place completely on a computer screen, like the brilliant horror movies Unfriended or Searching, that would have worked much better. Then audiences would have something interesting to look at the entire time instead of wondering when the real scares are going to happen. Instead, it’s a fairly straightforward movie without a ton of visual excitement.
The ending of Superhost feels like a let-down as well. Unlike some horror movie endings that make viewers guess, Rebecca murders Teddy and captures Claire, and then films it for the channel. When someone says that the video is “clickbait” and people begin commenting with negative impressions of the channel, Rebecca seems excited that she has committed murder and contributed to the channel’s downfall. But is this really that interesting? It doesn’t always feel that thrilling when there’s a horror movie where the main characters die and there is no redemption for anyone, like at the end of the Netflix horror movie The Open House. When Superhost is over, audiences might feel disappointed with a story that felt pretty one-note and flat and just didn’t seem to go anywhere.
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About The Author
Aya Tsintziras (20 Articles Published)
Aya Tsintziras is a freelance writer who writes about TV, movies, and has a particular interest in the horror genre. She has a Political Science degree from the University of Toronto and a Masters of Journalism from Ryerson University. She loves coffee, reading, working out, and watching TV. She lives in Toronto.