Usually when new filmmakers have access to a single house, they use it to make a cabin in the woods horror movie like Evil Dead. The makers of An Ideal Host had a house but they used it to do more of a riff on The Thing, with a bit of a twentysomething rom-com too.
Nadia Collins IS ‘An Ideal Host’
Liz (Nadia Collins) and Jackson (Evan Williams) are planning a dinner party for their engagement. They’re both in on it, but planning the moment when Jackson will “surprise” their guests with his proposal. Liz is so excited she sets the table three times in preparation.
Plans take a turn when Liz gets wind that Daisy (Naomi Brockwell) is attending too. Brockwell is magnificently relentless. She’s so abrasive and aggressively resentful that you’ll want to kill her, like Liz does. An Ideal Host isn’t a murder movie though. It’s an alien invasion that interrupts Daisy ruining Liz’s party.
Anyone could be ‘An Ideal Host’ for the invaders
Brett (St John Cowcher), Mara (Mary Soudi), Kyle (Daniel Buckle) and Jon (Tristan McInnes) are all guests of Liz and Jackson’s. They all have past or current beefs to hash out with Daisy. However, any one of them could also be an alien.
One of the party guests tries to kiss another and reveals some tentacles coming out of his mouth. They’re trying to pass parasites on to human hosts (An Ideal Host, get it?). Since a kiss is the transmitter, it leads to lots of kooky situations. It also leads to lots of surprises and paranoia when nobody trusts anybody.
Dinner for 7 little Indians
Just when you start to get to know and like the characters, even Daisy, the situation becomes so dire that you could say goodbye to them any time. Each cast member commits to their role wonderfully, although as the host trying to control the whole party, Collins is a charming combination of badass and delightful.
Soudi is hilarious freaking out. McInnes is hilarious getting commitment phobic with Buckle even in the middle of the crisis. Most of the cast get to portray a drastic turn when they become hosts to the alien themselves, too.
Director/cinematographer Robert Woods stages a lot of chaotic yelling in long, dynamic single takes, with lots of overlapping action. The confines of the house don’t limit the extent of the crisis. It ends in a bloodbath gorefest, so don’t worry too much about spending the first half establishing the social conflicts and the rules of the species. An Ideal Host goes there by the end.