The R-Rated Thriller Starring Sitcom Icon Deserves A Second Chance, Stream Right Now Without Netflix

By Robert Scucci | Published

the perfect host

When you think of David Hyde Pierce, the first character that comes to mind is Frasier Crane’s lovable yet neurotic younger brother, Niles. While Pierce mostly made a name for himself with his theater performances after his tenure with Frasier concluded, he also starred in a black comedy and psychological thriller called The Perfect Host. Leaning into the eccentric upper-class persona that Niles Crane was most famously known for, Pierce portrays a similar character but goes off the deep-end in this film that has more unexpected twists and turns than a pretzel rolled out by M. Night Shyamalan.

The Plot, With Minimal Spoilers

Describing The Perfect Host without spoiling the second and third-act reveals is a daunting task, but we can at the very least set the mood for you to pique your interest. 

The Perfect Host primarily focuses on a fugitive named John Taylor (Clayne Crawford) who needs a place to hide after committing a string of robberies and running from authorities. John makes his way to a wealthy neighborhood, and gains entry into Warwick Wilson’s (David Hyde Pierce) house. Warwick, who is preparing for a dinner party, calmly greets his unexpected guest and offers him a glass of wine while both parties assess the situation. 

Warwick Is No Niles Crane

The Perfect Host takes its first unexpected turn when John passes out because his wine was drugged. When John comes to his senses, Warwick is hosting the dinner party, but in spite of how his host is acting, John seems to be the only guest. Warwick shows John a photo album full of bloody pictures of the guests who seemingly who were apparently guest of previous “dinner parties,” but now have met a fate similar to what may be waiting for John.

What’s Real And What’s Fantasy?

the perfect host

After we learn what’s at stake, The Perfect Host quickly becomes a hallucinatory fever-dream that will make you question your own sanity. We learn what Warwick does for a living to be able to afford such a fancy home, and the revelation will make your skin crawl. Meanwhile, the police continue to hunt for John. 

The Reception In 2010

Upon its limited theatrical release, The Perfect Host failed to break even at the box office, earning only $454,000 against its reported budget of $500,000. On the critical front, this delightfully mad story about a dinner party gone wrong garnered a 45 percent critical score against an audience score of 55 percent on Rotten Tomatoes. Despite its lackluster reception, The Perfect Host did ultimately end up winning a Saturn award, as well as best feature at the Abertoir Film Festival 2011: Wales’ national horror film festival.

Critics’ Biggest Beef

the perfect host

Fans and critics alike gave The Perfect Host mixed assessments ranging from terribly convoluted to so downright bonkers that you just need to see it to believe it. The biggest criticism that the film received was how it tried to explore too many different plot twists without ever successfully sticking the landing. Among the positive reviews is the sentiment that it’s a fun movie that can be thoroughly enjoyed if you suspend a healthy amount of disbelief and enjoy the ride into the disturbing imagination of Warrick Wilson.

Decide For Yourself

the perfect host

It’s also a whole lot of fun to imagine that Warrick Wilson’s character in The Perfect Host is just Niles Crane on a psychotic side-quest that he’s trying to hide from Frasier and Marty. But make no mistake, because aside from the clean-cut portrayal of an upper-class wine snob gone mad, there is nothing within this movie’s premise that even closely resembles an episode of Frasier. You can stream The Perfect Host on Tubi, but you might want to bust out the hors d’oeuvres and a cheeky rosé before inviting guests over for a dinner party of your own.