|The Perfect Host|
There’s been a whole jumble of independent films I’ve wanted to see lately, but haven’t had much luck actually seeing any of them in theaters. I’m not even sure if this particular film has received a proper release yet, so let’s just say I acquired this one by my own means. What was my attraction to this particular film? How about the fact that it’s a dark comedic thriller with David Hyde Pierce! For one I’m always up for some comedy with a twist of cynicism but also, when’s the last time anyone saw David Hyde Pierce in a movie? He’s always a treat to watch, so to see him play against type is more than a pleasant surprise. Sure he’s still playing that upper class, cultured, connoisseur, type but he’s also insane with a little glint of murder in his eyes.
Clayne Crawford (who looks and sounds remarkably like Ray Liotta) plays John Taylor a career criminal on the lam after robbing a bank. Stumbling upon a plush L.A. neighborhood, John concocts a plan to pose as friend of a friend of a man named Warwick Wilson (David Hyde Pierce) after going through his mail. Warwick being the gentleman that he is lets John come in for a drink despite the fact that he has a dinner party in a few hours. Though with Warwick’s endless prattling, John quickly becomes agitated and soon threatens Warwick’s life, but slowly looses consciousness after drinking his weight in red wine, “It’s a cheeky little drop isn’t it?” says Warwick. John awakens to discover that the wine was drugged and that he is now Warwick’s hostage, what follows is a most unusual party with some very interesting “guests”.
John is kept drugged for most of the duration of the film as Warwick includes him in a series of festive events. Meanwhile a detective (Nathaniel Parker) attempts to discover the whereabouts of John Taylor, this seems unnecessary until you see how it eventually connects with the rest of the story. The Perfect Host is essentially all about trying to mislead you with strange and sometimes almost ridiculous twists, which is probably why it’s been turning so many critics off. Every time I drop by Rotten Tomatoes it seems like it’s rating just gets lower and lower. Personally I enjoyed the twists, even if they didn’t all gel together particularly well. One thing I think most can agree on is David Hyde Pierce is a manic joy to watch and I hope he starts turning up in more movies again.