Liz’s Review: An Ideal Host (Panic Fest 2021)

ATMOSfx! Woo!

★★ out of ★★★★★

Appetizers, party games…and Aliens. All part of an epic evening with An Ideal host!

Directed by Robert Woods

Liz (Nadia Collins) and soon to be fiancé Jackson (Evan Williams) are preparing to host the perfect dinner party to celebrate their return to the small Australian town of Wellworth (population 78) where they both grew up. The table is (finally) set, the seating is assigned by place card and the evening’s itinerary is carefully printed- room for Brett, Mara, Kyle and his plus 1 (Jon). As they learn that Liz’s estranged friend Daisy (Naomi Brockwell) has decided to crash the party, the carefully curated event begins to unwind but Daisy will not be the only unwanted guest at this party.

As soon as the guests arrive Liz’s perfect evening starts to unravel…Daisy, who ruined the last dinner party by getting drunk, begins freely pouring the good bottles of wine and hitting on Brett soley to make Mara crazy with jealousy which leads Mara (Mary Soudi) to indulge more than she should. As if keeping her friends from coming to blows isn’t enough, Liz spies her boyfriend Jackson in a lip lock with Brett (St John Cowcher)! But that lip lock is not what it seems and the group soon realizes that an alien invasion is in progress and some of the party guests are already playing host to the invaders. The only way to draw them out is a game of spin the bottle (luckily right at the time Liz had planned for after dinner games).

Once revealed as an alien invasion film this quirky comedy of errors becomes a full on horror blood bath with tons of gore and Liz shines as not just the perfect hostess but an EPIC final girl! Even as the blood flows An Ideal Host keeps the laughs coming and does a great job of walking the horror comedy tightrope that so many Australian films excel at.

The cast is wonderful and the performances are great. Everyone plays their part to perfection but my favorite character has to be Jon (Tristan McInnes) who came to the party on the tail end of a first date with Kyle (Daniel Buckle) after they had met the night before on Grindr. The script, written by Tyler Jacob Jones is pitch perfect and makes efficient use of the tight 85 minute run time. IMDB says this film was made for 20,000 AUD which is about $15,000 in the US and wow, what they managed to achieve on so small a budget is applause worthy and highlights the skills of director Robert Woods.

An Ideal Host is currently streaming as part of Panic Fest 2021. If you miss it there, stay tuned to The Scariest Things and we’ll keep you updated about more opportunities to see this great film.

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