The Host


Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

The atmosphere is as thick as blood. Whatever is going on in this room stopped somewhere between the intake of your breath and the realisation that the host (Niall Fulton) has lost the plot.

Let's rewind for a moment. A group of friends are havering politely in what looks like a social situation. The room is devoid of decoration, except for a pale, insipid painting of a seagull. Conversation has either stalled, or run off the track. The host stands outside, nervous, like a girl. He is haunted by something even more hideous than having to make conversation. He sees the leery face of an old man in livid close-up, subtlely intimate in a way that disgusts him.

He goes into the room and the others turn and stare, as if someone has opened a coffin. The host can't speak. The others watch suspiciously. He experiences flashes of a magic show, with a ventriloquist, and then accuses one of the guests of having two heads. "I'm sorry," he apologises, realising that he cannot trust the words coming out of his mouth. "I'm not very good with people."

The lighting sets a mood for unexpected things. The host's visions increase, as does his discomfort.

Simon Hynd's film is based on a short story by Brian McCabe. The writer/director has adapted it with the skill of a master butcher, cutting off the fat, trimming the gristle.

This is a work of the imagination. Fulton's performance perfectly reflects the psychological uncertainty of a mind in free fall and Hynd's use of the camera is inspired.

To know everything is to know nothing. In the void between comprehension and incomprehension lies terror.

Reviewed on: 29 Aug 2003
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Haunted by visions, a socially inept man invites friends round.

Director: Simon Hynd

Writer: Simon Hynd, based on a short story by Brian McCabe

Starring: Niall Fulton

Year: 2003

Runtime: 11 minutes

Country: UK


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