Stream ‘n Screen: “The Perfect Host” (2010)

There are some movies that are just better when seen in the comfort of your own home. If it sucks, you can turn it off. If you’re scared, you can hide under your covers. And if it’s great, you can watch it all over again.  Netflix is a great way to discover old, new, and interesting films. Whether they are sent to you or you watch them on streaming, it s a great resource to have as an actor and an audience member.

Years of playing one of the most famous psychiatrists on television may have helped David Hyde Pierce play a mentally unstable police lieutenant in writer/director Nick Tomnay’s 2010 film, The Perfect Host, which is currently available to stream on Netflix.

It’s a film with a simple theme: Appearances can be deceiving. It’s low budget, and at times, sparse (both in appearance and substance of story.) It takes a person with a certain sense of dark humor to really appreciate the film for all it’s worth.  The initial  boredom is quickly squashed by pure thrill factors that can confuse the audience; but it’s the type of movie that a person has to sit all the way through in order to understand what just happened on screen.

David Hyde Pierce carries this film using his innate ability to play the seemingly nice, upper-crust, intelligent characters. It might be something about his vocal quality that makes him so well cast in those roles. On the other end of the spectrum is Clayne Crawford, known for various guest appearances on everything from CSI to 24. Crawford, who reminded me immediately of Shane West, Channing Tatum, and every other pretty-boy actor out there, does well as the career criminal out to scam David Hyde Pierce.

What I find most interesting about Crawford as an actor, is that there seem to be so many others out there who I could have swapped in for this role and not have known the difference (especially physically.) Reasons like that are why David Hyde Pierce seems to be left bearing the acting burden in the film. Crawford, along with many other “leading man” “career criminal” and “bad boy” types, is subjected to something that we all face within the industry. Type-casting. All you have to do is put a tough looking guy in a black t-shirt, slap some hair gel on his head, give him some combat boots and BOOM!: you have your villain.

The interesting parts of the film come from David Hyde Pierce; simply due to the fact that his character was a unique one. A schizophrenic police officer who is still on the job and his colleagues aren’t aware he’s mentally ill, makes for an interesting story. You can forgive the violence and the gore simply due to the fact that the main character is off his rocker. As a viewer, you know that if he were played as a sane police professional, none of the exciting plot points would happen and the film would just fall flat. The film is thrilling; at moments, terrifying. I found myself wondering what I would do if I found myself stuck in the house with a delusional host and I’d get out alive. It’s one of those movies that if I reveal too much before you’ve seen it, the fun is over.  I’m inviting you to a party that’s available to view on Netflix, to RSVP all you have to do is hit ” play. “

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