In this digital age, we are familiar with the deluge of content creators on YouTube. Many people have found a very comfortable living for themselves creating videos about anything and everything on God’s green Earth. You want a video series on theme parks? Theme Park History, TPM Vids and others have got you covered. You want a series on how to build your own supply of chemistry components? NileRed has your hookup. Need to know if that new robot vacuum on the market is any good? I can probably find you 10 videos from top creators that will explain the pros and cons to you in detail. YouTube definitely has something for everyone.
But not many people stop to think about the hard work that goes into making these videos. Sure, it is easy to make a “one-off” video on your personal channel. From experience, I remember my first YouTube channel being an unintelligible mass of stuff, ranging from 3D printing videos, personal rants and travel videos. No intros. No outros. No “pro-requirement” of saying “hit that subscribe button and ring the notification bell.”
However, for those who choose the pro path, keeping the content machine going is not an easy task. While TV shows have staffs of creative people working together to make content quickly, YouTube content creators are typically left to their own creativeness. They have to come up with the script, find the shooting locations, edit the rough footage, upload it and then market the videos to the public. It just gets hard after a while in keeping the gears turning.
The Shudder horror film, Superhost, takes a look into this lifestyle, albeit in a far more gory way than normal. In Superhost, we are introduced to two travel vloggers named Teddy (Osric Chau) and Claire (Sara Canning). Together, they operate a YouTube channel called Superhost, in which the pair travels to Airbnb destinations to review them. After developing quite a following, the duo has reached a pretty good level of fame, though the analytics show that they have hit a plateau, and are in need of spicing things up a little on the vlog to reach that next level.
While visiting a vacation home run by the eccentric Rebecca (Gracie Gillam), Teddy and Claire decide to start focusing more on Rebecca’s many quirks, trying to cash in on her weirdness. Rebecca is more than happy to work with them on content, but as Teddy and Claire spend more time with Rebecca, the more and more they realize that Rebecca may not be as harmless as they originally thought.
In watching Superhost, I did not have any hopes it would be a good film. It combines the feel of found footage with standard horror. And while that worked with Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon, it has not worked well with other horror flicks. But Superhost’s director Brandon Christensen combined them expertly.
And while Osric and Sara did a decent job with Teddy and Claire respectively, the real star of this film is Gracie Gillam. Her portrayal of Rebecca is simply amazing. She is not in every scene of the film, but honestly, the “Rebecca-free” scenes feel more like filler.
The real story is how crazy can Rebecca get. She comes off as harmless and just really fun. But there is always a small amount of angst with her that grows and grows as Superhost progresses. Rebecca makes this film great, and I am glad that Brandon Christensen saw this and exploited it just right.
Superhost receives four out of five stars. While the film does drag in spaces, life is breathed back in every moment that Gracie Gillam hits the screen. Superhost is a great slasher film that builds well and gives a great payoff in the end. Check it out on Shudder today.