The Host (2020) Is A Stylish, If Uneven, Thriller

The Host, a new thriller directed by Andy Newbery (Keeping the Faith TV series) is coming to On Demand January 17, 2020. The film stars Maryam Hassouni (Flikken Rotterdam), Mike Beckingham (Black Site), Dougie Poynter (The Academy), Suan-Li Ong (Justice League) and Togo Igawa (The Last Samurai).


A chance opportunity arises for Robert Atkinson, a London banker who risks his bank’s money to leave the mundane behind and start a new life. To take advantage, he unwittingly signs up with a Chinese cartel to transport a briefcase to Amsterdam. But all is not as it seems in a city veiled by dark secrets. Fueled by power players, drugs, seduction and violence, Robert awaits his turn in a deadly game of choice and consequence.

Robert Atkinson is the type of guy who seems like he should have it all: he’s charming, attractive and has a good job, but still, he struggles. So when a mysterious stranger offers him money to carry a suitcase to Amsterdam, he decides to do it. Once there, he finds himself at a local hotel run by a seductive, yet mysterious, woman. But she may not be as innocent as she seems.

The Host has a lot going for it in the style department. It’s got a slick, gorgeous feel that makes for a great film to look at. Amsterdam seems like a welcoming city, and the hotel Robert stays at has a chic, hip feel. The woman running the hotel, Vera Tribbe (Maryam Hassouni), has a sweet, smiling exterior that positively seethes menace underneath. Her performance is one of the best things about the film. Her flawless ability to flip back and forth between the dual sides of Vera was brilliant.

Now for the negative. I really had the feeling that The Host contained the makings of two good films jammed into a confusing one. On one hand, there’s the story of Robert smuggling his suitcase into Amsterdam for the money. On the other hand, there was Vera and her very sinister hotel. Each tale on their own would be a very interesting watch, and I actually wanted to know more and follow them to their individual ends. But in all honesty, the mix of the two together just didn’t work, and as a viewer, I was left wondering about what might have been if they had just been separate films.


Gore-wise, there are a few great, juicy scenes, and the effects are absolutely stellar. Any faults aside, The Host is still an enjoyable watch for the acting and style alone.

About Christine Burnham

When not writing, Christine Burnham is watching TV, Horror films, reading, cooking, and spending time with her menagerie of animals.

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