Staying in a stranger’s home for vacation seems kind of insane, but it’s something that millions of people do every day using sites of AirBnb. Shudder’s latest original film, Superhost, delves into just how creepy things can get.
All for the Clicks
The movie opens with a vlog-like YouTube channel featuring Claire (Sara Canning) and Teddy (Osric Chau) as they stay in vacation rentals and give the place a rating. They’re a couple that seems happy and cheery when the camera is rolling, but dysfunctional and conflicted behind the scenes.
As their channel struggles, along with their finances, they book a reservation at a beautiful house secluded in the woods, run by a “superhost” with outstanding reviews. Upon arrival, they meet their titular host Rebecca (Gracie Gillam), who seems almost too cheery.
She’s right there whenever they need her, to a point that it starts to creep them out. Soon enough, they’re conflicted about leaving out of fear, and staying out of getting excellent footage that will surely save their channel.
Stealing the Show
While technically not the main character, Gracie Gilliam’s Rebecca is very much the reason to watch this movie, and the character that you’ll remember most. Coming off like a young Annie Wilkes, she very successfully tows the line between sympathetic and terrifying.
We get the sense that all Rebecca wants is to feel accepted, and on some level she’s very much aware that her tenants are laughing at her rather than with her. Despite this level of tragedy to her character, she’s able to make you go from feeling sorry for her to being creeped out by her in an instant.
On the surface, Superhost feels like your typical stalker thriller, in the same vein as 13 Cameras. But at its core, it’s so much more than that. We see the dissolution of Claire and Teddy’s relationship as their online persona becomes more important than their real one.
Teddy laments at the fact that all the sweet/sentimental moments they’ve had are only for the cameras, and the second they stop filming, Claire almost seems apathetic. Similarly, Rebecca’s online reputation as the “superhost” is nothing like what she really is.
Overall, Superhost balances genuine creepiness with a very dark sense of humor that will have you laughing out of sheer awkwardness to avoid fear. And it does a great job of encouraging you to simply live your life in the real world!
What did you think of Superhost? What are your craziest vacation rental stories? Let us know in the comments!