Shudder horror movie Host was somehow better on a tablet than on my TV

(Image credit: Shudder)

Films aren’t designed to be watched on your phone or iPad. 

Christopher Nolan, David Lynch, Martin Scorsese and a whole host of other directors and film industry experts have commented on how they don’t want you to watch their work on a small screen, but there’s one horror film this year that goes against that.

Host, an underground horror hit from scary streamer Shudder, is designed to be watched on any screen you own. I honestly expect the director would encourage people to watch on the biggest screen possible, but I think it's actually better enjoyed on your smartphone or a tablet.

Spooky streaming

I watched the terrifying film this week, and it’s the first time I’ve watched a movie that I’ve enjoyed immensely without that little pang in the back of my head that says, “this would be much better on your TV”.

Host is a unique found footage horror film that borrows tropes from the likes of The Blair Witch Project and Paranormal Activity, then applies them to those video calls we've all been doing throughout the Covid-19 pandemic.

After over six months of regularly using video calling software to speak to colleagues around the world and various calls with friends and family, Host has more impact than it would have had it released in 2019.

It specifically uses Zoom - software that many of us have had to wrangle with over the course of 2020 - and the film was specifically made and set within the pandemic to ensure it feels more real.

Why use a tablet?

With my housemate enjoying video games in our living room on our TV, I took to my Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 Plus and its 12.4-inch Super AMOLED display to watch Host. That's a large screen for a tablet - and the resolution is fantastic at 1752 x 2800 - but it's also significantly smaller than my TV.

My Galaxy Tab S7 Plus has been a staple device in my life throughout the pandemic whether that has been watching films or using video calling apps to connect with people in my life.

Throughout the film’s 57-minute run time, I kept being absorbed by the fact I was watching these Zoom calls play out on the device I regularly use for video calling friends and family.

This time, the two things had converged, and I’m not ashamed to admit that it made the horror playing out on the screen far more immersive and effective. 

Quite regularly, I even found myself looking around the software on screen to see where my little head was, as if I were on the video call myself.

Unlike other horror films where you have to reach for a remote to play with the volume, I found myself fiddling with the volume rocker on the top of the tablet too. This is something I regularly do on a video call with friends if someone is particularly louder than the others.

Most films are often designed to be watched on the largest possible display whether that's your living room TV or an IMAX screen at the cinema. 

This one just feels unique, and maybe you'll enjoy Host even more if you're tucked up in bed and watching it on a personal gadget.

James Peckham

James is the Editor-in-Chief at Android Police. Previously, he was Senior Phones Editor for TechRadar, and he has covered smartphones and the mobile space for the best part of a decade bringing you news on all the big announcements from top manufacturers making mobile phones and other portable gadgets. James is often testing out and reviewing the latest and greatest mobile phones, smartwatches, tablets, virtual reality headsets, fitness trackers and more. He once fell over.