The new movie “Host,” a horror film about an ill-fated Zoom seance, earned rave reviews this summer when it premiered on the streaming site Shudder. However, some viewers report that the depiction of a haunted Zoom session left them less traumatized than actually attending a work-related Zoom call.

Telecommuting employees across the country expressed their dread of remote company meetings, which can occur on a frighteningly frequent basis. “When I was in the office, I had to go to meetings once in a while,” reported business analyst Michelle O’Malley. “But now that we’re working from home, it’s like my boss doesn’t trust us to be productive. He wants to hold Zoom meetings every day.” Shuddering, O’Malley continued, “And he makes us turn our cameras on!”

Meeting rooms across the nation stand empty as employees are forced to attend virtually.

Kevin Phillips, who works in marketing, agrees. “You know the part in the movie when the girl gets grabbed by the demon and dragged off-screen? That was scary, but it was nowhere near as bad as the meeting where someone suggested we all stand up and show off our outfits, and I wasn’t wearing pants.” Visibly upset, Phillips added, “I still haven’t gotten over it.”

Other horrifying aspects of Zoom calls that telecommuters cited included awkward “icebreaker” games, coworkers’ cringe-worthy custom backgrounds, and having to put on actual clothes — or worse, bras or ties. They also described traumatic incidents such as hearing others eating loudly or even using the bathroom when they thought their microphones were muted.

Most telecommuters agreed, however, that the demonic entity from “Host” was more frightening than other surprise Zoom guests they had encountered. Employees say that unexpected appearances from coworkers’ pets, small children, and oblivious roommates are often the best part of their workday. Mr. Phillips agreed, citing personal experience: “I really hate this douchebag in accounting, and one time his cat jumped onto his desk and knocked his coffee into his lap. That was basically the highlight of 2020 for me.”

About the Author

Kristin Cleaves writes horror and dark fiction. Her work has been published by Quill and Crow Publishing House, Ghost Orchid Press, Black Telephone Magazine, and more.

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