The Host

Film , Action and adventure
  • 4 out of 5 stars
(3 user reviews)
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To put across the idea for his new movie, ‘Memories of Murder’ director Bong Joon-Ho stuck a cut-out of the Loch Ness monster on a picture of Seoul’s Han river and showed it to his producer. Perhaps not the most auspicious of beginnings, but the resulting monster flick is now South Korea’s all-time box-office champ, having been seen by 13 million of the country’s 48 million inhabitants. In many ways, it’s actually a very traditional creature feature, where careless pollution by the US military spawns a huge fleet-footed amphibian thingummy that appears on the riverbank to munch on fistfuls of passers-by before carrying the survivors to its hidden lair to snack on later. Constructed around surprisingly graceful digital effects (courtesy of San Francisco outfit, The Orphanage), this self-evident crowdpleaser skilfully strings together hair-raising scares, jet-black comedy and plucky heroism as an ordinary dysfunctional family set aside their differences to try to rescue their daughter from the beastie’s clutches.

Although chomp ‘n’ chase is pretty much an international language, it’s still a very Korean monster movie, in the way that Bong’s previous masterly ‘Memories of Murder’ was an essentially Korean police procedural. The characters’ emotional volatility is almost a given of course, but ‘The Host’ also moves beyond the usual genre formula, since it’s rooted in burning indignation that the working-class folks at the centre of events are simply being ignored by high-handed authorities in thrall to the Americans – significant issues in a nation where democracy has only relatively recently taken root. All of which makes it the thinking person’s giant mutant tadpole pic, and just how many of those have you seen lately?

Release details

Rated: 15
Release date: Friday November 10 2006
Duration: 119 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Bong Joon-Ho
Screenwriter: Bong Joon-Ho, Chul-hyun Baek
Cast: Song Kang-Ho
Hie-bong Byeon

Average User Rating

3.8 / 5

Rating Breakdown

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Finished watching this film 20 minutes ago - great CGI and some good moments for sure but the storytelling is all over the shop and there are some clear attacks at America as the film progresses. I wouldn't not recommend it but don't have it too high on your to-do list unless see'ing amazing CGI effects pretty much make any mediocre film great for you. On a positive, the opening 15 minutes defy anything Hollywood does and gives you a full on view of the monster rather than tucking it away in the shadows with quick glimpses with a slow jaws style build it, don't buy it.