Thursday, March 14, 2013

Perfect Piss

Aspiring novelists and screenwriters listen up - do not put every good idea you have into your first work. Not only because they aren't all "good" ideas, despite what your mom told you, but because even if they're all great ideas you'll just get a convoluted mess.

Case in point, The Perfect Host. Another entry in the torture porn genre that wisely forgoes outright gore for a creeping sort of tension that leaves your stomach tied in knots. For the first hour anyway, then every heist and copper movie idea the creators ever had gets hastily jammed in, murdering all the aforementioned tension and ending on a point so nonsensical it makes Inland Empire look reasonable and bland.

Which is really a shame because that first half of a movie ain't too shabby. David Hyde Pierce, the mincing brother you never cared about on Frazier, minces about a modern LA home as Warwick (the middle "W" is silent) preparing a dinner party for guests that only exist in his head - while occasionally tormenting a hapless bank robber who wandered in, thinking he could take Mincey Crazy-Pants hostage. The movie takes its time with that setup and shows all the other sorry excuses for horror movies how to really scare the audience. Bank Robber John pretends to be a friend of a friend who's in Australia, at least according to Warwick's mail, and the ensuing game of lies as the two feel each other out is really great stuff.

Pain. Fear. Blood. Good times...

Soon the radio announces that John is on the lamb and Warwick's true colors show. Things get a little uneven here, dipping too far into wacky territory as Warwick's fantasy guests multiply until there's a conga line and a dance off or something, but it all retains a genuine sense of menace. In the middle of all his prancing around, Warwick shows John some pictures of previous dinner guests - Polaroids of his victims getting progressively bloodied as the night goes on until they end up with their throats slit in the bathtub. And he shows a homemade self-mutilation movie to John, excitedly telling him "I did the hair and makeup myself!"

This is all interspersed with John's desperate attempts to escape. He gets close a few times, only to have it snatched away - not in any contrived way either. And that's all great! But it doesn't stop there, like it should with John's throat cut in an alley. Or even with just his fake death and the revelation that Warwick stages his "murders" with his great makeup skills.

Yes, I'm spoiling this for you. Because after sitting through this ending, I want to spoil it! Warwick is a police lieutenant and John's girlfriend, who helped him knock off the bank, has sold him out and is escaping in a rental car and John gets to her first and takes the money - but Warwick is there! And lets him go! So to thank him, John mails one of the Polaroids Warwick took at the party -How did he get it? Who fucking knows? - to a police detective who confronts Warwick. So Warwick invites the detective to dinner.

"Ain't I a stinker?"

The Perfect Host was good enough to end fifteen minutes before it did. Instead, it overstayed its welcome in a pointless and insultingly nonsensical conclusion. And Spin gave this mess four stars because they suck a whole mess of dick.

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