The Host

by Alan Rapp on May 13, 2021

in Home Video

  • Title: The Host (2006)
  • IMDb: link

The Host movie reviewThrowback Thursday takes us back to 2006 and a South Korean horror film from one of today’s best directors. Although writer/director Bong Joon Ho has reached greater heights with Memories of Murder and Parasite, his 2006 horror film Gwoemul, or The Host, about a mutated creature running amok along the Han River is still quite entertaining. We see the cause of the creature in the movie’s first scene when an American scientist (Scott Wilson) orders dangerous chemicals destroyed and flushed into the river (in reference to U.S. Military’s actions in Seoul in 2000).

The plot mostly revolves around a single dysfunctional family made up of snack bar owner Park Gang-du (Kang-ho Song) his father (Byun Hee-bong), his daughter Hyun-seo (Ko Asung), his sister (Bae Doona), and his brother (Park Hae-il). Present during the first attack, Hyun-seo is presumed dead although she was actually only taken deep into the sewers by the creature as the family, when not fighting each other or running from inept police and health officials, mounts a search.

While very much a genre film, The Host is a smart and entertaining monster movie understanding how to use pace, fear, family dynamics, and the bizrre and macabre (not to mention a good bit of humor) to weave an engaging tale. The film satirizes the South Korean government incompetence while offering more than a little political commentary about the U.S. and their actions in South Korea. Although the creature has some limitations given the effects budget, its bizarre form is effective and the film includes a number of great shots by Hyung Koo Kim (who also shot Memories of Murder). And its melancholy ending offers an unexpected mix of tragedy and hopefulness. The film has been released multiple times on Blu-ray and DVD and can also be found on various streaming services.

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