The Perfect Host
|The Perfect Host|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Nick Tomnay|
The Host by|
David Hyde Pierce|
|Music by||John Swihart|
|Edited by||Nick Tomnay|
|Distributed by||Magnolia Pictures|
The Perfect Host is a 2010 American black comedy/psychological thriller film written and directed by Nick Tomnay, a remake of Tomnay's short film The Host (2001). The film stars David Hyde Pierce and Clayne Crawford. Filming took place in Los Angeles, California, over seventeen days.
Fugitive John Taylor flees an initially unspecified crime, with a wounded foot. Flashbacks and news reports reveal he robbed a bank in collusion with his girlfriend Simone, who was a teller in the bank. He stops in a convenience store for some disinfectant, just moments before it is robbed; he manages to turn the tables on the robber, but she gets away with his wallet. The store's TV identifies John and his car, so he quickly ditches it, proceeding on foot into an expensive neighborhood. With a sob story about being mugged, he gains entry to the house of Warwick Wilson. John poses as a friend of one of Warwick's friends after he found a postcard in the mailbox outside from a woman named "Julia". Warwick is preparing a dinner party. John makes small talk and drinks red wine while trying to figure out his next move and how to keep his lies from being found out. When the radio news makes an announcement about John, he angrily shushes Warwick, revealing himself. John threatens to kill Warwick if he doesn't cooperate and forces him to call his guests to cancel. Suddenly, John keels over; the wine has been drugged, and Warwick is not the person he seems to be.
When John bounces back, he finds himself tied to a chair, and the party is in full swing—but all the guests Warwick is interacting with are figments of Warwick's imagination. Warwick takes a Polaroid of John and reveals a scrapbook of his past dinner parties, each with a murder victim and a timeline of things Warwick is going to do to him. As the night wears on, John is further terrorized, drugged, and incapacitated, learning various things about Warwick's strange lifestyle. A neighbour of Warwick, a prying old lady (whom John also tried to trick into letting him into her house earlier) hears John moaning and goes over to investigate. Warwick is able to trick her into leaving, blaming a drunk dinner guest for the noise. Warwick cauterizes John's wound with the fire poker after the neighbor leaves. John also discovers that Julia is yet another figment of Warwick's imagination when he sees Warwick writing a postcard to himself from Julia.
Later, John and Warwick play chess, with the prize being John's freedom; John, who is an excellent player, wins. Warwick lets John go as agreed, but taunts him before he can leave, calling him worthless and secondary. John takes the tantō (Japanese sword) on display in Warwick's living room and stabs him with it, but it proves to be a collapsible prop knife, and so Warwick knocks John out. When he once more regains consciousness, they are in Warwick's bathroom, John tied up in the tub, while Warwick has an encounter. In the daylight, he places a picture in his scrapbook in which he seemingly slit John's throat.
John's body is left outside with the trash. He wakes up and discovers that most of his injuries are fake; Warwick is a master of movie makeup. L.A.P.D. Detective Morton (Nathaniel Parker) arrives at Warwick's door – Warwick is actually a police lieutenant, who is working on John's robbery. Warwick hides the scrapbook, medicine and kimono, then alters his demeanor and even his voice. Meanwhile, John becomes suspicious of girlfriend Simone and discovers she made alternative travel arrangements out of Los Angeles that don't include him. Warwick and Detective Morton join another detective who are watching Simone's apartment. John locates Simone in a parking garage, taking her switch car and the money, leaving her to be captured by the detectives. Warwick stops John from leaving and blackmails him for the money, leaving him about $20,000 to get past the Mexican border, for which John says thank you.
A couple of months later, Detective Morton receives a letter from Mexico – it's a Polaroid of Warwick and John together, from the dinner party, with a written warning. A suspicious Morton confronts Warwick, who blows it off; but, when Morton persists, Warwick invites Morton to a dinner party and asks what type of wine he would like. Warwick then walks out of the office - along with his imaginary friends - with a smirk on his face.
- David Hyde Pierce as Warwick Wilson
- Clayne Crawford as John Taylor
- Helen Reddy as Cathy Knight, Warwick's neighbor
- Megahn Perry as Simone Demarchi, John's girlfriend
- Joseph Will as Det. Valdez
- Nathaniel Parker as Det. Morton
The film premiered in January 2010 at the Sundance Film Festival. The Perfect Host played at several other film festivals, including Fantasia 2010 and Sitges 2010. It won the audience award at the Amsterdam Fantastic Film Festival 2011, a Saturn award and best feature at the Abertoir Film Festival 2011: Wales' national horror film festival. The film was released theatrically in the United States on July 1, 2011 in a limited release.
- "The Perfect Host (2011)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved July 21, 2014.
- Benardello, Karen (22 June 2011). "Interview: Director Nick Tomnay Talks The Perfect Host". Shockya.com. Retrieved 2014-04-12.