Sundance Movie Review And Video Interview: Nick Tomnay's The Perfect Host

I loved the premise of The Perfect Host: a bank robber (Clayne Crawford) talks his way into the house of a well-to-do man named Warwick (David Hyde Pierce) by pretending to be the friend of a friend, only to find that Warwick is far more dangerous than he seems. So how was the film's execution? After the jump, read some of my thoughts on the film and watch a brief video interview I did with the director and stars of the film.

I saw the world premiere of the film at a midnight screening last night and simply put, this film is absolutely insane (and not always in a good way. In fact, quite frequently not in a good way). The initial set up is handled quite well, but after that, the film spirals rapidly out of control as director Nick Tomnay adds on twist after twist through tense onscreen developments and convenient flashbacks. The problem is that the nature of these twists are occasionally so outlandish as to shatter one's suspension of disbelief, and the rapidity with which they are introduced doesn't help the matter (for another example of this, see De Palma's Black Dahlia). The plot introduces so many different, related pieces that the completed puzzle that emerges looks a bit ridiculous and loaded with deux ex machinas. Moreover, some of the musical choices are also bizarre, sounding like they came out of a bad episode of Scrubs and playing at all the wrong moments, pulling me out of the film.

But I don't have any problem recommending this film on the performances of Crawford and Hyde Pierce alone. Most of the film takes place within the confines of Warwick's house, so the film absolutely depends on their interactions in order to succeed. And succeed it does: Crawford believably plays a harried robber down on his luck, but it's Hyde Pierce's chilling and crazy performance as a clearly-mentally-imbalanced _______ (occupation omitted, for spoiler purposes) that steals the show. Hyde Pierce revels in this performance and everyone in the audience was reveling with him.

In short: The Perfect Host is a fun, minimalist thriller that piles on the suspense and the twists until you are reduced to either awe or laughter. Watch this movie to see David Hyde Pierce go crazy.

I had a chance to chat with director Nick Tomnay and actors Clayne Crawford and David Hyde Pierce. Note that there are arguably minor spoilers included in this video review, and apologies for the shakey cam (there was no way to get all of them into frame using a tripod). If you don't care about either of those things, I hope you'll find it an enjoyable chat: