The Perfect Host

Starring: David Hyde Pierce, Clayne Crawford Directed by: Nick Tomnay

John (Clayne Crawford) finds himself in a serious pickle after he ends up injured and identified after a robbing a bank. Ditching his car – which has been described on the radio – he ends up wandering through a semi-ritzy neighborhood looking to weasel his way into shelter for the night.  After one foiled attempt, he finds a postcard from Julia in Australia to Warwick (David Hyde Pierce).  Posing as a recent friend of Julia's just in from Australia with a sob story about losing his luggage, he wrangles entry into the house, where Warwick is preparing for a dinner party.

While John is sitting in Warwick's house, sipping red wine and stringing together lies about his acquaintance with Julia, he hears another radio broadcast about his crime and the search for his whereabouts.  Fear making him belligerent, John grabs a knife and gets belligerent, revealing the truth about his identity and willingness to kill.  Warwick acts frightened and calls one of the guests to cancel the party.  And then John blacks out.  When he wakes up, he is the prisoner and four other dinner guests have joined Warwick's party.

What follows is an extremely strange – yet carefully structured – evening at Warwick's house.  There are even some flashbacks of John's bank robbery woven in to add context and set up the ending.  Throw in a nosy neighbor whose interference in the festivities is only avoided by quick thinking and the use of a rubber swamp creature mask, and you have a very weird yet completely enjoyable film. The only 'meh' I have about the film is the flashback sequences aren't integrated well.  They really don't work as either clues or character insights until very late in the movie.

If you:

  • Like a plot with more twists than a pretzel
  • Like David Hyde Pierce
  • Like a good mistaken/misrepresented/surprising identity ploy

Put it in the queue!

If you:

  • Aren't a big fan of movies that incorporate trendy and/or somewhat overused plot devices
  • Don't really like thrillers to have semi-comedic elements in them
  • Expect a movie that uses Polaroid pictures to document events to be as good as Memento

Don’t put it in the queue.

Written by Jennifer Venson