Shudder Original Superhost is a trip well worth taking

Gracie Gillam as Rebecca-Superhost_Photo Credit: Shudder
Gracie Gillam as Rebecca-Superhost_Photo Credit: Shudder /

Shudder Original Superhost takes a darkly comical look at the world of vloggers, desperate to keep their subscriber count up consistently.

One of the new additions for September, Superhost introduces us to Claire (Sara Canning, Nancy Drew) and Teddy (Osric Chau, Supernatural), a couple who have a YouTube channel devoted to travel. Specifically, they love to review vacation rental properties, particularly ones that are highly rated.

While both are very good at what they do, Claire is definitely the one who lives and breathes her career, and she is desperate to bring up their recently dwindling subscriber numbers. Poor Teddy wants to find the perfect time to propose to his girlfriend. We see him sneaking off to talk to the camera without Claire around, telling their subscribers what he wants to do, and really, their latest vacation home is the perfect setting for it.

Nestled in the mountains, the beautiful home is rented out by a highly rated “Superhost” known as bettylou52. When Claire and Teddy arrive at the rental, the entry code they were given is not working, and they can’t get the door unlocked. They can’t call their host due to bad cell service, but luckily for them, bettylou52/Rebecca (Gracie Gillam, Z Nation) magically shows up, apologizing for the outdated code.

Rebecca seems…let’s see, how shall I describe her energy? Rebecca’s energy is intense and a little over the top. She’s super friendly and seems very eager to do anything to ensure that her renters will give her a high rating on their vlog.

Osric Chau as Teddy, Sara Canning as Claire-Superhost_Photo Credit: Shudder /

When it becomes apparent that Rebecca is not quite right, Claire and Teddy decide to roll with it, figuring that her bat sh** persona might gain them new subscribers and bring their ratings up. That turns out to be a mistake.

Over the next couple of days, Claire and Teddy find out exactly how far Rebecca will go and how much her “friendly” energy can change. She pops up at unexpected times; at one point, Teddy goes downstairs in the morning to find Rebecca making breakfast for her renters. And it gets stranger and more frightening from there, ending on a bloody high note.

Superhost was written and directed by Brandon Christensen (Z, Stillborn), and he clearly knows how these YouTube channels work.

Claire and Teddy’s video clips are filled with corny in-jokes and graphics, and the two of them present camera-ready personas every time they speak to their subscribers.

Sara Canning and Osric Chau give solid performances, with Canning not afraid to make Claire unlikeable much of the time.  Chau makes Teddy likable (even if we do sometimes wish he would grow a backbone), and iconic horror actor Barbara Crampton (Chopping Mall, Castle Jakob’s Wife) pops up briefly for what turns out to be a memorable performance. But let’s just cut to the chase here: Gracie Gillam scoops up this entire film with both hands every single time she is onscreen. I don’t know that I have ever had a gigantic, face-splitting grin leave me feeling so unsettled.

Barbara Crampton as Vera-Superhost_Photo Credit: Shudder /

Gillam’s performance leaves viewers feeling a mashup of chilling uneasiness and nervous laughter at the same time, and that can’t be an easy feat. Honestly, I would watch every film she is in based on her performance in Superhost.

If you love a creepy story that can make you laugh while also making you jump here and there (with some pretty good gore thrown in the mix), strap in with Superhost for a fun rollercoaster-like ride.

Keep your eyes open for my upcoming interview with Superhost writer/director Brandon Christensen to find what inspired him to create this film.

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