The Host (2020) Starring: Maryam Hassouni, Mike Beckingham, Dougie Poynter, Nigel Barber, Suan-Li Ong, Togo Igawa, Daniël Boissevain, Tom Wu, Derek Jacobi, Jeroen Krabbé, Fabian Jansen, Reinout Bussemaker, Dominic Keating, Margo Stilley and Ruby Turner
Directed by Andy Newbery Produced by Zachary Weckstein Cinematography by Oona Menges
Running Time: 1 Hour, 42 Minutes
In an age of genre tagging and inevitable spoilers, it’s a rare delight to be surprised by a film. Its fair to say that Pearl Pictures Productions debut offering, The Host has elements of horror and thriller in its plot, but also entertains with unexpected character development that twist and turn as the film progresses.
Adapted by Zachary Weckstein from a story by Laurence Lamers, the plot follows Robert Atkinson, a London banker who risks someone else’s money to leave his mundane existence behind and start a new life. Unfortunately, Robert makes several bad decisions which lead him on a path to transport a briefcase to Amsterdam for a Chinese cartel in order to settle a debt. Robert’s destiny takes another serious twist when he arrives in the city and meets Vera, the attractive young host of the residence he is staying, before transferring the briefcase to its destination.
Locations for The Host Take Place in London and Amsterdam
The Host moves along at a good pace over its 1 hour, 42 minutes balancing strong characterisation with beautifully angled locations between London and Amsterdam adding a sense of depth and substance.
With atmospheric nods to the earthy TV thrillers and Hammer Horrors of the 1960s and 70s, The Host weaves and twists the destinies of its central characters, siblings Robert (Mike Beckingham) and Steve (Dougie Pointer) and the seemingly delectable Vera (Maryam Hassouni) whom the brothers subsequently encounter in Amsterdam.
Beckingham and Pointer both work well as brothers whose relationship is evidently strained as their lives take different paths. Whereas Beckingham’s chancer, Robert becomes the prominent figure in the first half of the film it is Pointer’s Steve who gains in prominence as the story unfolds due to his call to action to events.
Maryam Hassouni Creates A 21st Century Femme Fatale in The Host
Maryam Hassouni’s Vera is a femme fatale for the 21st Century. Undoubtedly in control from start to finish by purely oozing warmth with vulnerability to throw her prey and (also) the audience off guard. In fact, its Vera who takes The Host and its characters on a further journey adding a wonderful twisty Hammer Horror edge to the unfolding story.
Suan-Li Ong adds mystery to her character Jun Hui, while sharing some atmospheric moments with Nigel Barber’s seasoned investigator Herbert Summers and Togo Igawa’s sinister cartel leader, Lau Hoi Ho.
Enjoyable, memorable and thrilling, director, Andy Newbery‘s carefully placed appearances from Sir Derek Jacobi, Daniël Boissevain and Ruby Turner add further to The Host’s dramatic stance, but never pull the viewer away from its growing edge-of-the-seat thrill factor.
The Host is available through all on demand platforms