Bong Joon-ho's THE HOST
Movie review by Dennis D. McDonald
It’s fun to see a decent monster movie again. How long has it been since ALIEN? Too many years.
Not that THE HOST is on the same level as ALIEN — it isn’t. But it’s entertaining enough to give it a place at the same table.
The story: pollution generates a monstrous slithery aberration that arises out of the Han River in modern day Seoul and starts eating people. It runs afoul of a dysfunctional family and then has the temerity to spirit away the 13 year old daughter back to its sewer system lair in preparation for a pleasant meal. But the girl’s family bands together and, constantly bickering amongst themselves, tries to track down the girl since The Authorities aren’t listening to what these salt-of-the-earth misfits have to say.
The special effects are fun, the monster is gruesome, and there are plenty of family angst and governmental missteps to go around. I was a bit disappointed to see that the special effects are done by an American company — this has been billed as a Korean production. Weta is credited with maquette sculpting.
Also, the Americans are the bad guys — they cause the problem in the first place, and they enter the story in an annoying attempt to bring politics into the story line. But I think this can be overlooked due to the sheer joy of seeing a nasty and ugly creature running rampant in a modern urban environment. The crowd scenes, for example, are terrifically entertaining. This creature is NASTY but still gets perturbed when its victims have the temerity to fight back. And it’s fun to see a bow and arrow taken seriously as a weapon. So sit back and relax.
Review copyright (c) 2008 by Dennis D. McDonald