The Perfect Host - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Perfect Host Reviews

Page 1 of 29
Super Reviewer
½ March 6, 2015
Niles how you never wanted to see him!
Okay, so I realise the character wasn't actually David Hyde Pierce's Frasier alter ego - but for sure there were similarities. The bit with him compulsively scrubbing the blood off the floor gave me quite a laugh.
On the surface he plays a sophisticated, wine drinking, mild mannered single man who likes to host dinner parties.
But all is not as it seems as one young criminal discovers when he chooses the wrong man to scam.
This is nowhere near as gory as you might expect, and actually it's pretty tame by the end, but I did like it, and it was an original idea. David Hyde Pierce does pull this character off disturbingly well.
Super Reviewer
October 21, 2011
Dinner Parties Are A Dying Art.

Good Film! I like alot the element of surprise the director brought to this film which made it unseemly so darn good wickedly fun and entertaining. The Perfect Host is not a horror film, although it's easy to see how it could have been made as one, but a psychological, cat and mouse thriller of tables (dining tables) turning and being turned as small time hood meets major lunatic! This is typically a film to watch once and never again since it isn't one that you'll always remember but it has a kind of devilish goodness to it. Enjoy!

Warwick Wilson is the consummate host. He carefully prepares for a dinner party, the table impeccably set and the duck perfectly timed for 8:30 p.m. John Taylor is a career criminal. He's just robbed a bank and needs to get off the streets. He finds himself on Warwick's doorstep posing as a friend of a friend, new to Los Angeles, who's been mugged and lost his luggage. As the wine flows and the evening progresses, we become deeply intertwined in the lives of these two men and discover just how deceiving appearances can be. With outstanding performances by David Hyde Pierce and Clayne Crawford, cowriter/director Nick Tomnay takes us on a suspense-filled ride where nothing is as it seems. 'The Perfect Host' is a slippery psychological thriller that exposes true human nature and reveals just how far we're willing to go to satisfy our needs.
Super Reviewer
½ October 17, 2011
It doesn't really go anywhere or make any useful coherent statements and probably won't win any awards, especially not for its title--and the party scenes were a bit too Heineken-TV-commercial-but-sillier--but the film gives David Hyde Pierce a chance to show his acting chops in the realm of film. The others weren't bad either.
Super Reviewer
½ October 15, 2011

Twist after twist after twist...way too many to take the movie seriously.
Super Reviewer
June 20, 2011
The Perfect Host has all the preconceptions to make it into a seriously depraved indie dark comedy/thriller, but because it tries so hard to be original and flippant, it comes off as an over plotted mesh that doesn't deliver any new shocks and shakes. There is quite a bit of suspense leading in, the shooting of principle photography very well done, the music is perfectly set for the scenes, and the starting action begs many questions we all want answered right off the bat. Starting strong, Host resolves to become very violent, with fugitive John conning his way into the home of Warwick Wilson, who announces he is throwing a dinner party for his four close friends. As the truth unfolds between the two men thrust together by mere chance, terror and disbelief culminate in a series of strange events. This film is all about the psychological, playing up the sensibilities of the criminally insane, and we all watch wondering whether someone is going to die, or if their fate is already decided. I don't want to spoil the entire movie by listing my qualms with the last half hour's plot, but let's just say it veers from what I expected. That in itself is very hard to do, but the way in which it's done puzzles me. Yes, everything is thoroughly explained, the resounding action ties into the rest of the film, and it's quite clever writing, but at the same time there is a lot I truly find distasteful and irresponsibly stupid about the ending. Contrary to this psycho's way of thinking, the plot makes no sense, unless it does tie in with one very loose plot hole involving a chess game that determines one character's fate. I'll leave it at that. I did appreciate Crawford and Hyde Pierce's performances. I never would have guessed that Pierce could be so fiercely menacing, and though I've never seen Crawford before, I will surely be on the watch for him in the future.
Super Reviewer
½ September 13, 2011
A psychological thriller, and a rather interesting watch. Very different, and unusual. I wish that it had a better ending, however.
Super Reviewer
September 30, 2011
Warwick Wilson: Lighten up, John! It's a party. 

"Dinner Parties Are A Dying Art."

I'm going to get the little praise I have for The Perfect Host out of the way early. Going into this I didn't expect David Hyde Pierce to be able to pull it off. He did though; he was excellent. He is most famous for his role as Niles on the television show Frasier. Here he does deliver one of the weirder performances you'll ever watch and he is a lot of fun to watch. He saves this movie from being a total disaster and makes it watchable when it really shouldn't be.

So now with that out of the way, I can say what I really think of this movie. It sucks. Plain and simple; it's awful. Pierce's performance can't save a movie that starts at stupid progresses to moronic and ends with a conclusion that is lacks any common sense at all. The movie starts this downfall with a scene that I thought would be the stupidest part of the movie. But shit, it just keeps getting stupider when you think it can't get any worse. Plot twist after fucking plot twist lead this into the depths of hell when it comes to storytelling.

It's funny that I hate this as much as I do because even with how much I disliked what I was watching, it was still easy to watch and I found the hour and a half run to fly by. I was actually entertained with how the movie progressed and managed to one up itself in the dumb department at every turn. 

Honestly I have no idea what this movie was or how to classify it. It's definitely not a horror film. I wouldn't go as far as to say it's particularly thrilling. It's funny, but funny bad, not funny like it's a comedy. It's a strange film that is unlike anything you'll ever see. 
Super Reviewer
½ September 23, 2011
Really the worst movie I have seen in sometime, The worst of 2011 films, and might even rate as the worst in my film watching and review history. You will get more fun out of tossing sand into a hole then wasting the time watching this. 1/2 a star only because I want my rating to show you how bad it is.
Super Reviewer
½ October 5, 2012
"The Perfect Host" starts with John Taylor(Clayne Crawford) making a not so swift getaway with a wounded foot. Being witness to a convenience store robbery only helps the police identify his whereabouts. Desperately needing to lay low for a while, he bluffs his way into Warwick's(David Hyde Pierce) house while he is setting up for a dinner party.

"The Perfect Host" gets off to a promising start with the robbery being emblematic of a truly bad day.("Paper or plastic?") However, the movie disastrously veers off track with its game playing, just as suspense may be building and information revealed about the various characters.(For the record, it is always hard to know how much to care about a character when there is so little known about him.) Going forward, the movie zigs where it should zag and gets perilously close the edge, becoming almost too implausible for words. And it would have been much creepier if John had been drugged/tied up at an actual dinner party. However, David Hyde Pierce does have some nice dance moves.
Michael M.
Super Reviewer
½ March 1, 2012
This is a weird movie. I don't mean weird in the way those surreal fantasy films I seem to love are weird, or in the way half the stuff coming out of Japan is weird. I mean weird in that it's just...well, odd. Is it a comedy? Is it a thriller? Is it horror? What the hell is this thing? I'm not really sure.

The premise is simple enough. John Taylor (Clayne Crawford) is a fugitive on the run, for reasons that are explained during the course of the film. Trying to find a place to lay low, he ends up at the home of Warwick Wilson (David Hyde Pierce), claiming to have a mutual friend. Warwick is a gracious host, concerned only that this uninvited guest might disrupt his dinner party. Eventually, John's identity is revealed to Warwick, and that's where things start to get odd.

The less you know about the plot of this movie the more enjoyment you'll get from it. Even the trailer, while still spoiling some surprises, manages to hide the more sinister elements of the film. The story is strange and unpredictable, but it also has some flaws that I could not ignore.

This is what I like to call a "sandwich movie." A sandwich movie can be one of two things: a film with a strong beginning and ending but a poor middle; or a film with a poor beginning and ending, but a strong middle. The Perfect Host is the latter of the two. Until John arrives at Warwick's home, the film feels sluggish. There are several scenes that go on for far too long and serve little to no purpose, with meandering (and sometimes self-indulgent) dialogue. There is for example a scene where John goes into a convenience store to get cleaning supplies for his bleeding foot. The function of this scene only serves to show that the security cameras saw John exit, and he was unsuccessful in getting the supplies. This could have been done in under a minute, but it takes over 5 minutes to get through, and feels entirely unnecessary and little more than padding for the films short 90 minute runtime.

Then there's the ending, and that's where things really fell apart for me. The focus of the film shifts at the end, and adds in plot twists that were not only unnecessary, but wholly uninteresting. This is where the film starts to explore why John was on the run, and frankly I simply didn't care. The reasons why and how John ended up at Warwick's house were not important details, and should never have been the focus. However, the time that John spends in Warwick's house; that is where the film shines.

If I had to give this film a genre classification, I would call it a classy thriller. Most thrillers go for gritty, dirty, and sometimes downright unpleasant. This film tries to be upscale and classy, while still having the undeniable marks of a thriller. Even when horrible and disturbing things are happening on screen, they are displayed with grace and civility, often accompanied by classical music in the background. It's delightfully bizarre, and wildly original, and made the whole experience entirely unpredictable.

The success of the film is in no small part due to the performance by David Hyde Pierce. I haven't seen too much of Hyde Pierce's career (I could never really get interested in Fraiser), but I can still say this is a very new direction for him. Whenever he is on screen, he demands your attention, and it's no big shock that the films poorest moments are those where he is absent. Where the pacing and writing of the film falter, he manages to shine and save the whole production. He completely loses himself in the complex and often outright confusing character of Warwick.

This isn't a great film, and oftentimes it's not even a good film. But when it is good, it's really good. I really wish this film had been better than the product we ended up with, but that doesn't mean it's not an original, unpredictable, and strangely enjoyable product that is worthy of your attention. If you're a fan of Hyde Pierce, or you just want to try something different, then it's worth your attention.

Directed by: Nick Tomnay
Screenplay by: Nick Tomnay, Krishna Jones
Starring: David Hyde Pierce, Clayne Crawford
Pros: An almost award worthy performance from Hyde Pierce
Cons: A beginning that feels sluggish and an ending that feels unnecessary
Rated: R for multiple f-bombs, some sexual references, and several scenes of blood, terror, and torture
Should You See it?: It's not a perfect film, but it's worth checking out for its originality and wonderful lead performance
Super Reviewer
½ October 9, 2011
The Perfect Host is bizarre, unconventional, clever, and generally effective. David Hyde Pierce was especially impressive. It's not perfect, however, with an over-the-top third act that has too many twists for its' own good.
Ryan M
Super Reviewer
September 24, 2011

"The Perfect Host" is like the work of a fine artist still in development. Its premise shows promise; as does the influence that it took from many films before it. I can't say it all comes into place to make a successful debut feature for its director, Nick Tomnay, but before you just say "no", there are some things, that I'd like to address; which might make you want to reconsider skipping this uneven but slightly engaging dark comedy-thriller. It's a mess, without-a-doubt, but there are plenty of redeeming factors to at least keep it on the good side of decency.

Plenty of people are going to hate this movie. That's what I predict, and I can't blame them. It isn't particularly well-written, it isn't high budget enough to have the actors that you might want to see in the roles presented here, and the tone just isn't to everyone's liking. No doubt, a movie like this one has been made before, and made better; but I was appreciative of the flick's ability to at least deliver some satisfactory morsels, if nothing more. Overall, it's a forgettable but suitably unsettling little movie that is worth seeing if only for the sake of seeing it; since this is a movie that asks to merely exist and doesn't quite get off so easily with its one wish.

The film studies the lives of two men who are seemingly different, but by the end of the film, we are convinced that they're all too alike in both personality and wit. One of these two fine men is John Taylor (Clayne Crawford); an on-the-run fugitive who is shot, robbed, and desperately walking the streets waiting for someone to take him in; allowing him time to think and finally, take action. He tries a few doors until he arrives at one that just kind of seems "right". The person living in the house is Warwick (David Hyde Pierce), an ominous man living alone; claiming to be making preparations for a dinner party he is hosting that night. He is initially kind to John; and the criminal (this is John's only current occupation) treats him with equal respect. However, it becomes apparent that Warwick is preparing for something much bigger; perhaps much different. He encourages John to drink as much wine as he possibly can, and before long; Warwick has John tangled in his dark web of desires and deception.

John is exactly the man we expect him to be for most of the film, while Warwick reveals a much darker, possibly emotionally disturbed being. I'd be more than happy to buy into these characters and invest in the struggles that they are each forced to participate in, but the film makes no attempt to humanize or narratively build on either of the two. The film isn't too good when it comes to plotting; but to call it poorly written would be harsh and untrue criticism. There's some good dialogue that goes on here; especially when it's delivered by Pierce, who delivers some of his best work as Warwick. I won't spoil too much, since you might still be curious about "The Perfect Host" in spite of anything I might have said about it, just don't go in expecting a masterpiece. The film does, however, deliver when it comes to snappy dialogue and clever one-liners; which was enough for me, until the major, distracting flaws began to kick in.

I suppose I was thoroughly enjoying myself; with the appropriately whacky and even surreal dinner sequences taking affect; and Warwick's hidden madness rearing its ugly head towards the audience. However, the film makes a very big mistake by adding in an unnecessary and uninvolving third act; which comes off as just-plain-stupid. It tries one-too-many twists, and it ends on such an anticlimactic, predictable, and overall lame note that it almost ruined the entire film for me. But then, I reflected; I went back. It was then that I realized just how entertaining "The Perfect Host" was before all this derivative shit happened; and this is why I gave it the rating that I did. I don't recommend the film, per se, but like I said; it's got some redeeming qualities worth looking into as long as you have some time to waste. Otherwise, there are better films to watch; tickets and even rental fees are not always cheap. If you can get a hold of this one for free (rental-wise, like I did), then great; you haven't wasted anything. Some of you might even like it more than I did, while others will be left scratching their heads. I like what this film had going for it; but I don't necessarily like films that feel as unfinished and unpolished as this one. However, I do hope that Tomnay goes on and makes better movies. He has the potential to do so. This was just his first film; think of what he can do to improve his already competent technique. I've honestly seen worse independent debut pictures. So this one isn't all that bad.
Super Reviewer
½ July 6, 2011
I was excited to give this one a watch after seeing the first trailer. It seemed unique, and David Hyde Pierce was back in a starring role. While watching it, I began to notice many annoyances. This isn't much a review as it is a list of reasons why "The Perfect Host" wasn't so perfect:

1. David Hyde Pierce's performance was not ONCE funny, scary, or unique. This just wasn't his role. You may think it's cool because on Fraiser he played a sort of weakling, tidy, well-mannered sort of person, but my god he was just awful. It feels like he attempts to pull a Christian Bale in "American Psycho" but fails miserably.

2. The direction. My god.. AWFUL. They keep banging us over the head on what's real and what isn't. They could have done this to introduce it for the first 10 minutes, but no, we needed it for the entire film. It gets tiring and old, and shows how gimmicky this film is. It's trying to be many things and it fails in just about every one of them. I don't want to actually go into detail with this, because I suppose it can be a spoiler for some. (Not that you'll care)

3. Rest assured, it is one of those films where you'll be screaming at the characters on how unbelievably dumb they are. I know you hoped it wouldn't be, but come on, it's a modern horror/thriller flick. The script manages to do a great job of ruining the whole premise by the end of this film, turning a some-what unique premise to unbelievably dumb. There is a huge "really? -_-" moment towards the end that further validates the huge dump this film will take on your chest.

4. Am I supposed to be scared? I could literally beat the living crap out of David Hyde Pierce with both hands tied behind my back. He's weird, I suppose, but there's a difference between weird and psychotic. It doesn't help the fact that he seems like a normal person in his day life, which.. is sort of like putting on an act for the screen.

So what's the point? I wouldn't even call it entertaining. It's not scary. I wasn't on the edge of my seat. I didn't laugh once. I didn't care about any of the characters. I was bored. For what could have been a unique comedy/horror mash-up, turns to be a sad disappointment because the script, the actors, and the direction. Yes, pretty much everything.
Super Reviewer
½ September 3, 2011
An oddly unique film that has hidden agendas until the very end. David Hyde Pierce sells his character and Clayne Crawford steers away from the predictable and seriously uses his acting skills to keep this film from veering off into ridiculous or horrible, yet that fine line still exists. Those performances combined with the bizarre plot make this film slightly stand out.
Super Reviewer
October 22, 2011
I enjoyed this one. It kept you guessing and it was just weird (which I like!). It was one of those good movies that even though you liked it, you probably wouldn't watch it again because all the surprises are gone.
Super Reviewer
September 11, 2011
This was incredibly slow movie...only got interesting about the last 30 minutes. It did have a nice twist to it but other parts were predictable.
June 22, 2011
David Hyde Pierce makes an amazing surprise Psycho.I'd like to see him play more psychos.Perfect fun for a peek into madness ala Dinner Party with many twists as I watch on Halloween
½ January 19, 2013
Perfectly paced and cast, this thriller is one for the books. David Hyde Pierce gives an absolutely chilling performance.
Page 1 of 29