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Here’s a two-for-one deal that you may find easy to resist. It’s a dull Brit flick that feels like two films boshed together: a London thriller in the Hitchcock mode followed by a little light torture porn in Amsterdam. The two halves don’t add up to anything like a satisfying movie; somehow The Host manages to be both ridiculous and dull. Awkward performances don’t help: it’s as if the actors are clapping eyes on each other for the first time, having had five minutes to give the script the once over in a broom cupboard.
Mike Beckingham plays Robert, a cashier at a bank for the filthy rich, who becomes the victim of two far-fetched criminal conspiracies in one weekend, poor chump. His problems begin when he steals £50,000 from a safety deposit box at work and blows the lot on a single poker game at an illegal gambling den owned by triads. Actually, the entire match is a set-up job concocted by triad boss Lau (Togo Igawa) to blackmail Robert into carrying a briefcase of cash to Amsterdam as part of a heroin deal. Director Andy Newbery and his scriptwriters are not exactly making an effort here to dispel stereotypes with their portrayal of Lau, who disguises his menace behind a veneer of Zen-like calm, or his crew of thick-necked thugs.
In Amsterdam, Robert’s luck appears to be looking up when he arrives at his palatial Airbnb, owned by gorgeous and single socialite Vera (Maryam Hassouni). Alas, she turns out to be a female Norman Bates, and what she does to Robert in her dungeon – kitted out with a surgical table and all manner of agony-inflicting goodies – has him crying out for the less creative punishments of the triads. Newbery doesn’t go full-on yuck with the gore. Still, his film is a nightmare for all the wrong reasons.
•The Host is released on 17 April on digital platforms.
Source: The Guardian
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