Having a love for movies, a passion for filmmaking is absolutely fine, we encourage it to the nth degree. And, sometimes, that can mean that you, as the filmmaker, take inspiration from your favourite filmmakers.
However, if you are to take someone such as Alfred Hitchcock, then take arguably his best-known movie, a movie that the vast majority of people will know, one they’ve most likely seen, and rip it off. Well. You’re a braver person than I.
To make their ‘take’ on “Psycho”, it takes four writers and a director, who take the guts of “Psycho”, throw in some basic schlock horror like Eli Roth’s 2005 “Hostel”, replace Norman with Norma, sorry, with Vera, Maryam Hassouni (“Soof 2”, “Voetbalmaffia”), and never get out of first gear.
The Host is an hour and 42 minutes of eye-roll inducing, painful watching. It’s a turgid affair, leaving the suspense at the end of the opening credits which put you in mind of Hitchcock, or maybe James Bond.
There’s no clear protagonist, which doesn’t help proceedings, well there is, but he’s dispatched with all the gusto and glee of someone chopping radish. Now a certain Mr. Hitchcock also did this in 1960, but he at least managed to refocus the film afterwards, The Host drags itself along like Bishop in “Aliens”.
The story follows Robert Atkinson, Mike Beckingham (“Black Site”, “Redwood”), as he winds up with gambling debts and is dispatched to Amsterdam by crime boss Lau, Togo Igawa (“The Gentlemen”, “Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi”), who kindly pays his debts in exchange for making a briefcase exchange.
It’s here that Robert winds up at Vera’s house whilst Suan-Li Ong (“Justice League”, “Snatch”) and Tom Wu (“The Gentlemen”, “Fast & Furious: Hobbs & Shaw”) try to keep track of him for Lau. The latter of these two also falling prey to Vera.
With our main focus gone, we quickly switch to Robert’s brother Steve, Dougie Poynter (best known as being the bass player for pop band McFly) and Nigel Barber (“Spectre”, “Crystal Inferno”), a DEA agent trying to put Lau away.
From here on out we slowly meander our way through eye-rolling scenes such as; Vera suddenly, when it suits naturally, being able to creep up on someone in a house that previously no-one could blink without making a noise, or Vera’s uncle looking at a photo of a very-deceased corpse with all the surprise of someone realising they have a head, or everyone knowing exactly where to look, at exactly the right time, for exactly the thing they were looking for: briefcase, key, bucket of body parts.
That you want to pay homage to those that inspire you, movies or filmmakers or both, is noble. That you do so so blatantly; not putting your own twist on proceedings, not adding your own flourish, is a crying shame.
The Host is available on iTunes and all major VOD platforms in North America now and available through all on demand platforms from 17th April 2020 in the UK.