Title: The Perfect Host
Genre(s): Thriller, Crime
Director(s): Nick Tomnay
Release Year: 2010
Rotten Tomatoes: 43%
The ‘twist’ is a pivotal part to any thriller, that can be executed either poorly or perfectly. It has to blindside the viewer, taking them completely by surprise; it has to be believable almost entirely; and finally, it can’t be too jarring of a turn of events, ruining the continuity of the film. The Perfect Host is a thriller that relies almost entirely on twists, with some incredibly well-executed ones and some very poor ones that make the film extremely cliché. The true stand-out in this film is David Hyde Pierce who relishes in a post-Frasier role that puts him in an untouchable mode of acting that will leave the viewer in a trance.
The story for this movie isn’t all that original in it’s most basic form – a fugitive running from the law stays at a random house, believing he is in control of the situation, then everything goes awry. The Perfect Host doesn’t work hard on being a good crime film, it works hard on its scenes involving interactions between John (Clayne Crawford) and Warwick (David Hyde Pierce), most notably when at Warwick’s house. There’s some crazy things that happen in the first 20 minutes of our introduction to Warwick, that the movie doesn’t try to coast on for the whole film. What were in the foreground of a scene will hide in the background for other scenes, showing up only to accentuate Warwick’s eccentricities.
The major problem with this film is that there are way too many ‘twists’ in this film. Some that occur because of problems with the John character, specifically inconsistencies with how he reacts to a situation, and others that just occur to try and blindside the viewer. Every twist after the initial major one just gets less and less enjoyable in fact. Then when the movie goes back to the fact that John is a fugitive on the run, it all becomes standard crime thriller stuff. The enjoyment value from this movie rides solely on the back of David Hyde Pierce as he revels in the crazy character that he is portraying. If this movie was more focused on Warwick, and less on John, there may have been something here. Some twists would need a little more work to have the same effective reaction, but others would become much more effective. Removing the whole fugitive crime angle would have saved this film from the poor impact the last 20 minutes have.
That’s not to say that I didn’t enjoy Clayne Crawford’s performance, but it’s more the charisma of him that I liked, as opposed to the actual character of his. His character is very shallowly developed, and the director tried giving him more depth via flashbacks, but the cunning nature of John is the only thing we’re really given to latch on to. His character is very flawed, and has many inconsistencies that take away from the enjoyment of the twists. That’s a problem because this movie is actually a very smart movie for the majority of it, with a very unique character in Warwick. Unfortunately all the development goes to him, and then we have John who is left with very little development.
The Perfect Host is definitely an enjoyable movie on your first viewing, and maybe will still retain some of it’s enjoyment on the second one, but the movie’s flaws will definitely begin gleaming after two full experiences of the film. If you’re dying to see David Hyde Pierce do something since Frasier, this is the perfect film to watch him utilize his acting prowess. However, you won’t find too much to love outside of his character after the first 30-45 minutes of the movie. The character is perfect, but the script could have used less twists and more emphasis on tension if it wanted to truly thrill viewers. As I said though, the film is solid, and it doesn’t shy from being quirky, plus there’s even moments of humor in this that serve as minor distractions from the dark situation. The Perfect Host was a good film, that just gets wasted in its second half.