The Perfect Host is a 2010 dark comedy / thriller independent film starring David Hyde Pierce of Frasier fame and Clayne Crawford. A career thief, John Taylor (Crawford), needs to evade police for one night after a bank robbery that resulted in a wound to his foot. Turned away by other residents of Los Angeles, he concocts a quick story to get into the house of a man living alone, Warwick Wilson (Pierce). Warwick has his own plans for John though, but first, he's expecting guests.
As this film has various Plot Twists, expect spoilers ahead.
The Perfect Host provides examples of:
- Actor IS the Title Character: One poster announced the title and main actor as "David Hyde Pierce Is The Perfect Host".
- Affably Evil: Warwick is quite happy about everything he does.
- Anti-Hero: John, to two different (possibly) sympathetic villains.
- Contrived Coincidence: Not only was John unlucky enough to take refuge in a convenience store that is immediately subjected to a robbery and hide in the house of a guy who turns out to be an utter psycho, but said psycho is also the police lieutenant investigating the robbery John committed!
- Crazy-Prepared: Warwick's home is rigged this way, which fits both his personality and his, well, craziness.
- Deconstruction: Of the home invasion genre.
- Healthcare Motivation: John, to pay for an operation for his girlfriend who was faking the whole thing,
- Hemo Erotic: Warwick, with himself and with others forcibly, though it's not clear if he ever really wounds and kills his guests.
- Shown Their Work: John tries to get refuge in a Jehovah's Witness woman's home by claiming he's also a Witness. She instantly sees through this though as he uses having a cross to prove this Jehovah's Witnesses don't believe in them. It's a detail most people don't know about.
- Slipping a Mickey: Throughout most of the night.
- Strawman Political: Warwick takes inappropriate opportunities to share some extreme conservative views, which are either met with awkward silence or renounced by other characters.
- Subverted Trope: The film gives a unique twist to many thriller and horror tropes and scenes.
- Third Act Stupidity:
- John passes up an opportunity to leave for a seemingly foolproof opportunity to kill Warwick.
- Warwick snaps an incriminating Polaroid and leaves it with John for no discernible reason, other than perhaps to give John something to blackmail him with later (which is exactly what happens).
- Through the Eyes of Madness: The difference between Warwick's perception and reality is made very clear, often for laughs.
- Trailers Always Spoil: The trailer establishes the plot of 2/3 of the movie, namely that Warwick drugs John for the dinner party, although it never shows that all of the guests are imaginary.
- Was It All a Lie?: John doesn't even need to ask when he realizes Simone double-crossed him to steal the money.
- You Wouldn't Shoot Me: John says this at the end to Warwick who, despite being Ax-Crazy, suspiciously doesn't follow through with most of his threats of violence.