Movie Review: The Perfect Host

By Stephen Rebello

Australian screenwriter-director Nick Tomnay's feature debut stars David Hyde Pierce as a dangerous whack job.

Director: Nick Tomnay Rating: R Studio: Stacey Testro International

It’s David Hyde Pierce’s party and he’ll scare if he wants to in the modest psychological thriller The Perfect Host. Australian screenwriter-director Nick Tomnay’s feature debut opens promisingly, like a smart, tingly episode of Alfred Hitchcock’s old TV anthology show. An escaped and injured bank robber (Clayne Crawford, charismatically deficient) manipulates his way into the manicured home of Pierce’s character, who gets interrupted as he meticulously prepares for a dinner party. Pierce seems like such a flamboyant pushover that the runaway thief assumes that he’s got it made, and some in the audience may assume that the movie will become yet another cinematic home invasion showdown between a brute and an aesthete. Then, of course, Pierce reveals his true colors as a dangerous whack job and plot twist gets piled atop cliche and contrivance.

Although the star has a field day in the title role, the movie devolves into a series of pointless excursions down blind alleys and into alternate realities and a nifty premise gets stretched way beyond the point of plausibility and interest. What a violation. After all, a perfect host always knows when to call it a night.

About the Author

Playboy Contributing Editor Stephen Rebello has written many Playboy Interview and 20 Questions features. He is the author of such books as the notorious Bad Movies We Love (with Edward Margulies) and Alfred Hitchcock and the Making of Psycho, the latter of which has inspired a dramatic feature film set for production in 2011. His most recent Playboy Interviews include Josh Brolin and Cameron Diaz.


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