By MICHAEL GINGOLD
Quarantining during the pandemic has opened up new possibilities for scary storytelling, and just such a feature is coming soon on the genre streaming service.
Shudder has announced that it will exclusively debut HOST, from award-winning filmmaker Rob Savage (DAWN OF THE DEAF), in all of its territories on July 30. The actors–Haley Bishop, Radina Drandova, Edward Linard, Jemma Moore, Caroline Ward and Emma Louise Webb–shot their scenes in their own homes with their own cameras and helped create their own practical effects. Savage socially distanced from his actors and was never in the same room with them, directing them remotely. The synopsis: “Six friends hire a medium to hold a seance over Zoom during lockdown, but they get far more than they bargain for as things quickly go wrong. When an evil spirit starts invading their homes, they begin to realize they might not survive the night.”
HOST, which Savage scripted with Gemma Hurley and Jed Shepherd, will have gone from first being commissioned to seeing release in less than three months. “We saw a short horror film Rob shot during quarantine that went viral,” says Shudder’s Craig Engler, “and we immediately asked if he had an idea for a full-length feature. What he and his team created in HOST surpassed all our expectations–it’s a great horror film that cleverly uses the idea of a Zoom seance to fashion a story that’s uniquely realistic and terrifying, with jaw-dropping stunts done entirely by the actors.”
“I’m a certified Shudder obsessive,” Savage says. “When lockdown began, I spent weeks bingeing everything on Shudder, so to find myself premiering a new film on the platform only a few months later is incredible. Shudder understood the potential of this mad little film from day one and totally supported us making it in our own way. It was such a rewarding process and the final product is something we’re all so proud of. I hope this is the first of many collaborations!”