Superhost introduces its protagonists Teddy and Claire in portrait, their huge, grinning faces occupying the entire screen. They’re YouTubers (well, travel vloggers on an unspecified site) who review Airbnb’s (or, luxury, unbranded vacation homes), for a recently dwindling online audience. Things aren’t going well for the couple, both within the channel and without, so there’s a lot riding on this next vacation home. Claire is desperate to produce good material for their video, and Teddy… Well, Teddy is planning to propose.
It’s a sharp, modern setup, and a brilliantly plausible setting for a horror story – who hasn’t imagined a crazed axe murderer smashing through the windows of their home away from home? But it’s when titular super host Rebecca enters stage that things get disturbing.
I’ll stop with the spoilers; whilst we predicted most of the twists and turns ahead of time, the ride is fun enough that you should go in as blind as possible. In large part, that’s thanks to the sparkling performance behind the aforementioned Rebecca, who manages to bring a little bit of magic into every scene. She’s bubbly, excessively friendly – the kind of character who would fit right in with the inhabitants of Fargo’s Minnesota. But this is a horror movie, after all, and when things don’t go her way, a manic fury alights behind her eyes.
And it’s a funny film. Really funny, if you’re in the right mood. Superhost isn’t a dark comedy, per se, but the sudden shifts in Claire and Teddy’s on-camera personalities, the sinister, overbearing nature of Rebecca’s affections, and the spiralling way in which the horror escalates as the story progresses… There’s a verve and energy to this film that’s just so enjoyable.
There are a few good jump scares, and maybe one or two flashes of gore throughout, but if you’re in this for the blood and guts and fear you might be a little disappointed. We could also criticize some of the truly stupid decisions Teddy and Claire make, or the fact that the narrative isn’t really all that interested in exploring its deeper themes around social media and influencers. But honestly, who cares about all that when you’re having this much fun?
A uniquely interesting setting. Great (if a little baffling) characters. A creative modern twist. Superhost has a lot going for it. But the biggest selling point is simple: Rebecca. If you’re looking for a fun, twisted ride, you should really seek this one out.
Where did I watch it? Shudder.
Even though you’ll likely spot the twists and turns coming, Superhost remains a brilliantly vivacious ride, invigorated by the energy of its four cast members. Gracie Gillam in particular runs wild as the titular Superhost Rebecca, presenting a funny, freaky, and fresh take on the psycho-killer. Seek this one out if you’ve got a penchant for twisted laughs – we were grinning from start to finish.