Shudder announces new socially distant horror movie, ‘Host’

Host, from director Rob Savage. Photo Credit: Shudder
Host, from director Rob Savage. Photo Credit: Shudder /

Shudder announces a new movie that pushes the limits of filmmaking

A new kind of movie is coming to Shudder, AMC Networks’ horror streaming service. Host is the story of a group of friends who decide to host a seance during quarantine, and it all goes very wrong. Created by horror master Rob Savage, this genre-expanding movie premieres on July 30 and promises to create a new niche in horror.

With so many people using video calls to work from home or keep up with friends and family over the past few months, it’s little wonder that new kinds of cinema develop in these ever-changing times.

In this case, a group of friends use Zoom for a seance, and all hell breaks loose. Literally. This cutting edge film delivers all of the thrills and chills of a traditional horror movie, but they arrive via video chat. After Host, you won’t be able to see your weekly Zoom call with the boss the same way ever again.

Here’s the summary from Shudder:

"Host is the story of six friends who hire a medium to hold a séance 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. The film stars Haley Bishop (Deep State), Radina Drandova (Dawn of the Deaf), Edward Linard (The Rebels), Jemma Moore (Doom: Annihilation), Caroline Ward (Stalling It) and Emma Louise Webb (The Crown), who also operated their own cameras, helped pull off their own practical effects, and lit their own scenes. Due to social distancing precautions, Savage never set foot in the same room as his actors at any point during production and instead directed them remotely."

Filmmaker Rob Savage (Dawn of the Deaf) had already created a short horror film during quarantine that caught a lot of attention from fans. It also caught the attention of Shudder General Manager Craig Engler, who is always looking for the next big thing in horror.

"We saw a short horror film Rob shot during quarantine that went viral, 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 séance to fashion a story that’s uniquely realistic and terrifying, with jaw-dropping stunts done entirely by the actors."

Not only was Host created in less than three months from start to finish, but the actors worked entirely from home and set up their own cameras, stunts and scares. Savage never came into contact with his actors, providing all of the direction remotely.

Like Paranormal Activity, which introduced security cameras as a means to “film” a movie, Host is definitely pushing the limits of traditional storytelling in the horror genre and given that Hollywood has been struggling to resume production amid the pandemic, it offers a fantastic template for other creators to follow.

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Though Host is a feature film, the fact that it utilizes video calls and actors filming themselves is reminiscent of AMC Networks’ shows Friday Night In with the Morgans and Bottomless Brunch with Colman Domingo, both of which feature The Walking Dead Universe stars filming their own socially distant shows on their own, from their houses.

Host will be available to stream on July 30 on Shudder.