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Brandon Christensen
Sara Canning, Osric Chau, Gracie Gillam
Brandon Christensen

With their follower count dwindling, travel vloggers Teddy and Claire pivot to creating viral content around their most recent "superhost," Rebecca, who wants more from the duo than a great review.
Rated NR.

Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 84 min.
Price: $29.97
Release Date: 2/1/2022

• Audio Commentary with Writer/Director Brandon Christensen
• “Behind the Scenes” Featurette
• “Shooting in a Pandemic” Featurette
• Bloopers
• “Visual FX” Featurette
• Photo Gallery
• 2 Episodes of Scaredycats


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Superhost [Blu-Ray] (2021)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (January 16, 2022)

2020’s Spree provided a horror tale that involved the world of social media. 2021’s Superhost follows a similar path, with an emphasis on the lengths to which people will go to make an impact online.

Claire (Sara Canning) and Teddy (Osric Chau) run a travel vlog called “Superhost” that focuses on vacation homes. However, they find themselves desperate for new content due to a declining subscriber count.

This path leads them to the facility operated by Rebecca (Gracie Gillam), a host who seems to suffer from some mental health concerns. When Claire and Teddy poke into her past, they open a can of worms and find themselves in unexpected predicaments.

As one who runs a site with numbers off its peak, I can empathize with Claire and Teddy. To date, I haven’t concocted any extreme tactics to goose my visitor count, but never say never!

Since DVDMG.com doesn’t actually require me to go anywhere other than my home theater, though, I seem at little risk of physical harm. Sometimes the movies I watch agitate my dogs, but so far they’ve not tried to bite me as a reaction to crappy films.

The world depicted in Superhost certainly boasts plenty of potential for social commentary and/or satire, and the movie attempts to veer into those directions. However, the movie lacks consistency and seems unsure what route it prefers.

A better constructed movie could juggle all the balls this one tosses into the air. It doesn’t seem impossible that another version of Superhost could score insights about the nature of “influencers” and modern society while it also creates a good thriller.

Superhost just lacks real clarity or purpose, as it fails to manage its different threads in a positive manner. It starts out fairly well, though, especially in the way it points out the absurd artifice of online video reviews.

Apparently no one who creates these can act like a normal human being. To fit that mold, Claire and Teddy act like cartoons, and the film makes the difference between “vlog world” and reality obvious.

Once we meet Rebecca, though, the movie veers into Obvious Psychopath mode, and it starts to lose its way. For the story to work, Rebecca should show a descent into madness, but instead, the film paints her as a creepy oddball from the start.

This leaves the tale little room to grow. A more interesting narrative would allow some form of nuance, but instead, we just get a hamfisted depiction of a crazy person.

Rebecca simply makes no sense in the world Superhost initially portrays. As noted, the story starts with a contrast between the natural world and the over-amped online universe, but our lead characters feel realistic when they turn off the cameras.

By contrast, Rebecca always seems ready for her closeup, Mr. DeMille, and that just doesn’t work. The movie would fare better if she started out as a little quirky and ramp up her craziness from there.

Even so, the tonal imbalance would remain, and the film’s confused personality would continue to turn into an issue. As noted, a better-made version of the story could pull off the twists and shifts, but this one struggles to do so.

There’s a good movie to be made about modern technology and the intrusion of social media on daily life, but this one doesn’t invest well. With too many spoons in too many pots, it becomes a scattered and not especially involving mix of thriller, satire and social commentary.

The Disc Grades: Picture B+/ Audio B/ Bonus B

Superhost appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.35:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. The transfer presented the film in an appealing manner.

Sharpness looked good. Some softness hit a few interior shots, but those instances remained mostly insubstantial, so the majority of the flick showed fine clarity and accuracy.

Shimmering failed to distract, and jaggies also stayed away from the image. Edge haloes remained absent, and the movie also lacked any source flaws.

In terms of colors, Superhost went with a pretty standard mix of amber and teal that emphasized the latter. Despite these predictable choices, the hues worked fine.

Blacks were pretty deep, and shadows were well-depicted. The image offered a solid “B+” presentation.

The movie’s DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack packed a pretty good sense of it setting, with reasonable use of the various channels. Music filled the various channels in a satisfying manner, and effects fleshed out the spectrum in a logical way.

Not that one should expect a lot from the soundscape, as this remained a fairly low-key story most of the time. Still, the mix worked for the project.

Audio quality pleased. Speech was concise and natural, while effects remained vivid and full-bodied.

In addition, music was vibrant and dynamic. The audio suited the story and brought a good tone to the tale.

The disc comes with a mix of extras, and we open with an audio commentary from writer/director Brandon Christensen. He delivers a running, screen-specific discussion of the project's roots and influences, story/characters, the impact of the pandemic on the production and the effects of the shoestring budget, cast and performances, cinematography, editing and various effects, sets and locations, music, audio and other topics.

From start to finish, Christensen delivers a terrific commentary. He covers a broad, appropriate array of subjects and makes this a highly informative track.

Behind the Scenes of Superhost runs 10 minutes, 31 seconds and provides notes from Christensen and actors Sara Canning, Osric Chau, Gracie Gillam and Barbara Crampton.

We learn about the project’s origins/influences/development, story/characters, cast and performances, sets and locations, issues with bugs on the shoot, editing and post-production.

With only 10 minutes at its disposal, the show lacks much room for depth. Nonetheless, it gives us a pretty tight little overview.

With Shooting in a Pandemic, we get a six-minute, 39-second piece that features Christensen as he leads us around the set to demonstrate the challenges of a production in the COVID era. This winds up as a fun look at the impact on this barebones cast/crew.

A Bloopers reel spans three minutes, 36 seconds and shows the usual goofs and giggles. Don’t expect anything memorable.

Superhost Visual FX goes for two minutes, 46 seconds and offers “breakdowns” of various shots. This means we see them as filmed and then with effects added. It becomes a nice look at the subtle effects used in the movie.

A Behind the Scenes Photo Gallery provides a one-minute, 32-second running montage that includes 15 stills in all. Don’t expect much from this compilation.

We finish with two episodes of Scaredycats. “Bunk Beds” runs one minute, 21 seconds, while “Creepy Clown Doll” spans two minutes, 39 seconds.

These offer shorts Christensen created in 2020 along with family members, and both show little kids as they deal with nighttime frights. They’re an interesting addition to the set.

As a commentary on the impact of social media, Superhost falls flat. Though the movie comes with some potential, it feels too disjointed and trite to pack a punch. The Blu-ray offers positive picture and audio as well as a mix of bonus materials. While the movie occasionally shows promise, the end result fails to connect.

Viewer Film Ratings: 2 Stars Number of Votes: 1
0 3:
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