If you thought that going to a dinner party hosted by Niles from Frasier would be a lot of fun then think again as David Hyde Pierce proves he's not all there in The Perfect Host, a thriller from 2010 in which a criminal unexpectedly meets his match.
Bank robber John (Clayne Crawford) is on the run, he somehow talks his way into a mild-mannered man's house in order to hide somewhere overnight. His host, Warwick (Hyde Pierce), mentions he's having a dinner party but, soon enough, John realises that he's stumbled onto one sick individual as he is drugged and shown graphic pictures of a man being gradually murdered. On top of that, Warwick's friends are all imaginary and John is forced to spend one crazy night indeed. This scenario feels very much like a rather tame version of The Human Centipede, Tusk or Texas Chainsaw Massacre in that someone stumbles onto a harmless setting that turns out to be quite the opposite.
The Perfect Host definitely has its creepy moments and it's great to see David Hyde Pierce in a main role playing completely against type. Warwick's madness gets pretty cartoonish at times but genuinely unnerving also. John, as a character, is dislikable at first so you don't care too much about what happens to him but the film gradually gives us more information about him so he becomes more human as the story progresses. The one-on-one moments between both leads are very good and you never know how Warwick will react making certain scenes appropriately tense. That said, we never really understand this larger-than-life character and the direction the third act takes is wholly unconvincing.
The Perfect Host is worth seeing if only for David Hyde Pierce who clearly has a great time in a very different, much darker role. Other than that, this is an underwritten tale that needed more fleshed-out characters and a better story altogether.
Slight, if intriguing effort.