An Ideal Host is a film by Perth-based Robert Woods. A comedy-horror directorial debut written by Tyler Jacob Woods, this brutal Australian film decidedly gave me more than I bargained for. This review for An Ideal Host contains slight spoilers. I simply must talk about the carnage. Opening scenes have a clearly talented Nadia Collins as Liz going over a completely over-the-top recital for a dinner party. Collins was my favorite part of the film. I won’t make excuses for the fact she outshines the rest of the cast.
The script is fairly busy but Collins manages her character with the diversity required to make it work. On top of her OCD and controlling nature, the invited friends bring with them a party crasher, Daisy. Daisy (Naomi Brockwell) is known for ruining things. Brockwell brings a certain charm to the role. Her fact of the matter response to most jabs thrown her way was to drink more wine. We can always appreciate that.
I liked the idea of the story, but I’ll get straight to the point and say that the 85-minute run time felt a little long. Basically, aliens have begun their takeover. Liz and her guests must fight to stave off infection and fight to stay alive. Most noteworthy, An Ideal Host was made on a micro-budget. For low-budget fare, this certainly gives its all.
The Carnage & The Alien Takeover
There’s way too much chatter though. I had almost tuned out until I realized there were alien lifeforms springing out of people’s mouths and running across the floor. Somewhere between an anorexic Xenomorph and those guys out of Await Further Instructions. They weren’t scary. An Ideal Host isn’t particularly tense. However, the chaos that followed their arrival and the sudden onset of their ability to control the bodies of humans was enough to bring my attention back to the film. I had become sidetracked by a really bad American accent. This character’s death, however, was so sudden and viciously violent I realized I had to pay attention.
I learned that director Robert Woods covered cinematography. In addition, he did the editing and co-production. I hope this talented filmmaker goes a long way. Although the cinematography isn’t complicated, it’s steady and utilizes the wide-open spaces just as well as the tiny living spaces. The visual effects are executed with a certain fitness I’m not accustomed to in a no-frills affair. The transitions in editing are solid. The visual and practical effects are good. Come the finale and blood spattering grindhouse rendition of “how many things on the screen can I kill,” if you aren’t impressed, you need glasses. Props to the practical effects team (Andrew David and Matt Willemsen.)
An Extra Star Just For the Effects
The death scenes in An Ideal Host come on as if out of nowhere. Despite the silliness of whether or not someone could stab someone else with the broken bone sticking out of their arm is beside the point. The fact is, it’s deliciously brutal. As is the death of the annoying American accent guy. If you can get someone to repeatedly stab themselves with their own knife in the neck why wouldn’t you? I’m certainly not going to ruin the whole last quarter with spoilers. I will say though, get someone to wake you up for it though. It’s pretty cool.
I give An Ideal Host
3 weaponized creme brulee torches out of 5