September 27, 2011

Justify My Netflix: The Perfect Host

(Like many Netflix customers, I too can get quite lax with the timely watching and returning of my movies, which of course defeats the entire purpose of having a flat-rate rental plan in the first place. To combat that, I am now writing standardized mini-reviews of each and every movie I end up watching through Netflix, both instantly and on DVD. Don't forget, all previous 'Justify My Netflix' reviews can be found on CCLaP's main movie page.)

The Perfect Host

Today's movie: The Perfect Host, 2010 (Amazon | IMDB | Netflix | Wikipedia)

Why I added it to my queue: Because this indie thriller received unusually high praise when first in theaters last winter, mostly because of the performance of David Hyde Pierce within a darkly unique premise -- that in his efforts to hide from the law, an injured bank robber on the lam (Clayne Crawford) just happens to break into the home of a completely insane serial killer, one who seems nebbishly normal to the public but who is hiding some pretty Dahmeresque tendencies just under the surface.

The reality: Oh, it was okay, I suppose, although not nearly as good as it could've been. And that's because, as game as Pierce is in trying to make this role work, there simply isn't much for him to do once the premise is revealed about twenty minutes in, meaning that the time from then until the "surprise" ending is filled mostly with endless shots of Pierce...well, acting crazy while patiently waiting until dawn, his ritualized time for the actual moment of killing, it being obvious that Crawford is not going to actually get free before that moment, deflating any sense of drama that might've come with his multiple escape attempts over the course of the night. (Plus, Pierce's performance isn't exactly all peaches and cream, with it possible to argue that he in combination with a sometimes sloppy script can often wallow awfully gleefully in the worst stereotypes that even exist of homicidal, cacklingly deviant homosexuals.) And then speaking of that ending, that's the other big disappointment that offsets much of the goodwill the film had built up to that point; because without giving anything anyway, let's just say the the "surprise" is both nonsensical and doesn't match the tone of the rest of the film, would be a logistical nightmare if someone tried to actually pull it off in the real world, and doesn't even really seem to have much of a point other than for newbie writer/director Nick Tomnay to be able to say, "Hah? Hah? Bet you didn't see that coming, hhhahhhh???" Well-done in its details but a film that needed intervention way back in its first-draft writing stage, The Perfect Host is a decent enough feature debut for Tomnay but no great shakes; and here's hoping that he gets a lot tighter and sharper with the next one.

Strangest piece of trivia: This entire movie was shot in seventeen days.

Worth your time? Meh

Filed by Jason Pettus at 1:16 PM, September 27, 2011. Filed under: Movies | Reviews |