A UK horror film made entirely on Zoom during lockdown is getting a cinema release - here’s what it’s about

By Stephanie Rendall
Thursday, 20th August 2020, 12:04 pm
Updated Thursday, 20th August 2020, 12:06 pm
The idea for the film soon became the subject of a studio bidding war for its rights. 
The idea for the film soon became the subject of a studio bidding war for its rights. (Shudder)

A new small budget British horror film made during lockdown is being praised by film critics.

The chilling movie, called Host, has reportedly had people on the edge of their seats for its 57 minute duration.

What is the film about?

Host follows a group of six friends socialising on the video conference call platform, Zoom. They decide to hire a medium to call on spirits in a virtual seance. However, after the medium loses her internet connection, things go awry.

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    What inspired the film?

    The idea for the film was conceived at the start of lockdown, apparently from a two word text sent by one of its writers, Jed Shepherd, to a WhatsApp quarantine film club with real life friends, including other writers, Rob Savage and Gemma Hurley.

    The text simply read, “Zoom seance.”

    Savage told The Guardian that “lockdown boredom” was behind the creative pursuit, explaining, “Everyone who made the movie in front of and behind the camera, they were the friends that I was on Zoom with, doing happy hours, quizzes, all that stuff, and I wanted to find a way to scare them.”

    The idea for the film soon became the subject of a studio bidding war for its rights.

    How was it filmed?

    Savage (who has directed multiple award-winning short horror films) filmed himself and his group of actors while on a Zoom call and managed to mix this footage with that of a zombie horror film to give the illusion that a zombie was present on the Zoom call in real time.

    The actors were not given completed scripts in order to keep the events of the filmed Zoom call a surprise, and garner an authentic reaction from them on screen.

    Since the actors were being filmed from their own homes, they had to source their own fake blood, as well as take on the role of make-up artist and lighting technician during the five day long shoot.

    Where can I watch it?

    The finished result premiered on the online horror channel, Shudder, at the start of August, and quickly garnered high praise online.

    You can watch it for free if you sign up to the platform’s seven day free trial, which also gives you unlimited, advert-free access to Shudder's full library of films and series for a week.

    After the free trial, the streaming service costs £4.99 a month.

    A UK cinematic release is now planned, and Sam Raimi - the creator of the Evil Dead film series - has agreed to produce Savage, Shepherd and Hurley’s next film.