***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion, that's fine. To each their own. I am just sharing my opinions and perspective. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 1-5. 1, of course, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being good and 5, being epic!
The Perfect Host - 4 out of 5
This is one of those films that is difficult to explain what it's truly about without the danger of giving any of the twists and specific plot details away but here I go...
The Perfect Host is about a bank robber who's on the run from the fuzz and decides to take refuge in the home of a classy guy about to give a dinner party. However, our criminal friend quickly discovers that not all is as it seems in this man's home.
Not enough? Watch the trailer. Here it is...
When I first saw this trailer, my first gut reaction was, "YES! YES! I MUST SEE THIS MOVIE!!!" My reaction was in all caps because I was literally screaming that sentence as I typed it, not because I'm an amateur with a keyboard and likes to type things in all caps like 90% of Facebook users. So, basically, I was excited for this one because Number One) I love totally messed up films and Number Two) I love dark comedies and this one combined both of those. However, before I sat down to watch this one, my high expectations were dashed when I went to Rotten Tomatoes. It scored only a 36%. I was heartbroken because most of the time, my thoughts about films are pretty close to the percentage on the Tomatometer but this time, I didn't agree with it.
When the credits rolled, I was very pleased with the insanity that was The Perfect Host. The movie is very amusing and, for the most part, very well put together by young director, Nick Tomnay (who also wrote the film and made the short which the film was based on). The only real problems that come from the movie is the fact that Tomnay has a bad habit of destroying momentum with poor editing. Great sequences involving our host, Warwick, and his guest, John can quickly be lost to the viewer as we are haphazardly thrown into another sequence involving either a flashback John is having or the police investigating the bank robbery.
At first, these scenes started to vex me because I felt they actually were hindering the story and I wanted the entire film to take place and stay put in the home of fascinating Warwick. However, these scenes ultimately play a giant role in the film's ending twists--but it just goes to show how poorly they were tossed into the equation as they end up hurting the film's pacing.
Now, did you catch what I threw in that last paragraph? I mentioned the film has twists at the end. That's right, plural. More than one. In fact, an entire barrage of twists come sailing towards the viewer in the final moments of the movie. To the point, it actually becomes too many. When you start averaging one every five minutes, even M. Night Shymalan is saying, "Pull it back a little, would ya?" The twists, although they do converge to make a great ending, become a little grating and made me wish for a little simplicity.
Finally, the movie is harmed by the presence of the actor portraying our bank robbing victim of John. Clayne Crawford (don't worry, I haven't heard of him either) plays the torture toy of Warwick but Crawford's screen presence is flat at best. He never really brings much character to John. Even though the film's story tries really hard for you to like him and feel sorry for him, Crawford's terrible performance makes you do the opposite and dislike him to a high degree. I actually found myself wanting the psychopath of Warwick to be the film's hero--in a villain sense of the word. Basically, I wanted evil to win because of bad casting.
Which brings me to the film's greatest aspect...Warwick, played amazingly by David Hyde Pierce.
Had someone, anyone else been cast, this movie would not have worked. Pierce brings the character of Warwick to life and makes it look effortless. Pierce is so good in this role, you quickly forget you are watching the man who played Fraiser's brother for over 10 years.
Combining with Pierce's hypnotic performance is some elements that really make the film work and makes it easy to forget the parts that don't. The story for one is pretty damn cool and some of the twists (even though there are too many) end up coming together for a great ending. Finally, it's pretty obvious from the film's trailer (remember, I don't want to spoil anything) that Warwick is bat shit insane but the way Tomnay visualizes the man's insanity is just plain awesome! Seeing the way Warwick's conscience is handled makes Jiminy Cricket look like an annoying bug that's cruising for some face time with the sole of a large boot.
So, The Perfect Host isn't a perfect f'ed up movie or the best example of a dark comedy. The funny moments tend to disappear as the film progresses and the insanity of it all takes a hike as the plot twists take over the movie. However, the parts that work are enough to warrant a viewing. Especially, David Hyde Pierce!