October 18, 2011
Review - " The Perfect Host " - (on DVD) By Roland Hansen
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The Perfect Host
Directed by: Nick Tomnay
Starring: David Hyde Pierce, Clayne Crawford, Nathaniel Parker,
Megahn Perry, Joseph Will
Don’t you just love it when you take a chance on a completely
unknown film and it pays off? Such is the case with The Perfect Host,
a low-budget film from first-time writer-director Nick Tomnay. The
only familiar faces in the cast are David Hyde Pierce, who spent
several years playing Niles Crane on “Frazier,” and, in a smaller role,
70s singer Helen Reddy.
A criminal on the run cons his way into the wrong dinner party where
the host is anything but ordinary.
The Perfect Host is about a bank robber, named John (Clayne
Crawford), who tries to avoid the authorities by crashing a dinner
party. He enters the home of Warwick Wilson (David Hyde Pierce)
and pretends to be a friend of a friend of Warwick’s. After a while,
John’s identify is discovered and he is forced to become hostile
towards the seemingly innocent Warwick. Then John passes out from
a drugged red wine and the movie’s hook is revealed. Warwick is
John wakes up tied to a chair at the dinner table and Warwick’s party
is in full swing. Are the guests terrified to see a drugged bank robber
forced to dine with them? Nope, because they don’t exist. Warwick
sees them, but in reality, he’s serving food to the air. As Warwick
mixes drinks and serves roast duck, he shows John a photo album of
previous dinner parties. He has had other forced guests at previous parties that he has tortured to death. John is now
rightfully terrified. As Warwick dances around and chit chats with the middle space, John has flashbacks of how he got into
this situation. Apparently, he has a terminally ill girlfriend and his criminal activity grew out of love.
I was never bored. I was entertained from
beginning to end.
This film does something more films should do.
It didn’t play it safe. There’s a ridiculously
convoluted plot with twist after twist that really
swings for the fences. The two leads give it their
all. The film is definitely a showcase for David
Hyde Pierce, whose performance will keep you
enthralled. It’s a one-eighty from Niles Crane,
and Pierce makes the most of doing something
different. He wraps himself in the character of
Warwick Wilson and lets it rip. He’s great fun to
watch. Pierce is absolutely delightful. He seems
to slip in and out of insanity with such ease.
Clayne Crawford holds his own against the
boisterous Pierce. It’s tough to be noticed when you’re the straight man in a movie that has a larger than life character.
Crawford, an actor with credits to date mainly in series television, is fine as the feckless fugitive who considers himself
smarter than he actually is, which keeps him as surprised at the proceedings as the viewer. Crawford is up to the task of
playing opposite Pierce, and actually has a screen presence reminiscent of a young Ray Liotta. The rest of the supporting
cast does fine work in small roles.
The Perfect Host is not a perfect film, as you will likely start discovering some plot holes once you start thinking about it
afterward. But there is so much going on
while the story unfolds; you don’t have much
time to pick it apart in real time.
Obviously, dark and occasionally gruesome
comedies aren't for everyone, but for fans of
this special genre - Dexter fans take note -
The Perfect Host is a must see. Pierce's
performance is unforgettable, the story is
wild and fun and the movie delivers plenty of
thrills. Unfortunately, Niles Crane probably
Just enjoy The Perfect Host for what it is an
imaginative and entertaining dark comedic
thriller… and maybe you’ll even be inspired
to host your own dinner party.