Hostile DVD Review
Written by Stuart D. Monroe
DVD released by Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
Written and directed by Mathieu Turi
2017, 84 minutes, Not Rated
Released on September 4th, 2018
Brittany Ashworth as Juliette
Grégory Fitoussi as Jack
Javier Botet as The Monster
Have you ever been at a backyard barbecue (possibly with some new neighbors you don’t know that well) and you hit the grill for a good, old-fashioned chunk of dead animal on a bun? You’re starving. The burger looks good; maybe not the way you normally make ‘em, but good. You take that first bite and you know immediately that all is not what it appears to be. So, you go back to the cook and they inform you that they’re vegans, and your “burger” is made from soy paste or undercover plant matter. You want to be fully appalled, but it didn’t really taste that bad if you’re being honest with yourself.
Can you be honest with yourself? I can. I’m pretty open-minded, especially when something is clearly in that middle ground of drama/horror. This one is a lot like that faux burger – not what it seems on the surface but surprisingly hearty.
Hostile is a three-person show (okay, two people and a monster) set in a post-apocalyptic future of undetermined date and location. The landscape is blasted, and provisions are sparse. Juliette (Brittany Ashworth, The Crucifixion) is a tough, no-nonsense survivor who searches the wastes by day for food and supplies. The small community of 39 souls she inhabits has run out. When she crashes her vehicle while racing home to beat the setting sun (in a scene reminiscent of The Omega Man) she is left in the dark with a badly broken leg. She’s not alone, either. One of the monsters who can’t stand the sun is circling her overturned vehicle, looking for a meal.
Simple premise, right? It is indeed. However, Hostile throws the tried and true method of jumping between pre- and post-apocalypse at you (this burger tastes different….). You soon learn that Juliette was a junky with a serious problem until she met wealthy French art gallery owner, Jack (Grégory Fitoussi, G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra). Their meeting seemed to be fate. They fall in love. He brings her back from the depths of rock bottom. He shows her how to love herself and others. She’s soon pregnant, but tragedy strikes (I’d better go talk to the dude on the grill…). The relationship deteriorates under the trauma, but the love is still there. Soon enough, the world starts to fall apart, finally giving you a look at what ushered in the fall of humanity. A seemingly minor mystery arises (What do you mean it’s a vegan burger….). Two streams of time collide, so to speak.
Hostile is a film produced with skill on a small budget and filmed in an excellent location. The feel of the apocalypse is real; nothing feels cheap or hokey. You’ll feel the raw and elemental nature of the new world that Juliette lives in. The menace is imminent as she races to make it back safely. If you’ve ever played the video game Dying Light, you’ll know that vibe.
The Monster (Javier Botet, IT and The Conjuring 2) is straight nightmare fuel to behold. The creature design is stomach-churning and warped, as if Freddy Krueger had a love child with a bipedal spider/alien hybrid. The blind white stare and alternation between two-legged and four-legged motion is properly hideous.
I know I’ve said this before, but Botet is the go-to for freaky, spindly, cracky-crawly creatures and instantly enhances the scare value of any movie. Only he can play these parts. Otherwise you would be looking at a fully CGI creature. God bless the man and his unique talents. He’s rapidly becoming the Andre the Giant of horror.
The thing with Hostile is that (much like the vegan burger you weren’t warned about) it isn’t what the trailer would lead you to believe. I understand that, though. I can’t and won’t spoil the ending, but you will understand why the drama side of the story was eschewed in favor of the horror element in both trailer and advertisement, quotes, et cetera. Some folks will surely be put off that wanted to see “Mad Max meets Resident Evil” just as some folks simply want a big, juicy beef burger.
You’ll also understand why her name is Juliette. It’s a nicely wrapped homage.
My suggestion? Try the vegan burger with an open mind. It’s not that bad. Hell, there’s even qualities to like about it if you just give it a chance.
Video and Audio:
Presented in a 2.39:1 widescreen aspect ratio with 5.1 surround sound, Hostile is adequate for the format. There’s some gradation to the nighttime blacks, but it’s rich enough. The sound is average; a soundbar/home theatre wouldn’t improve much.
None. The only options are scene selection and setup (to choose 2.0 Stereo or 5.1 Surround audio).