The Host

The Host


Reviewed by: Chris

A slapstick horror with a monstrous galloping mutant - the result of tipping toxic chemicals from the morgue down the sink and into the river - terrorising inhabitants of Seoul by chomping on them, dumping them in a sewer for later, or infecting them with a supposedly deadly virus. Sound silly? It is. And it doesn't attempt to be much else.

Gang-du is the son of a local store owner. Raised on pilferings from organic farms, lack of a certain protein has made him a moron. His daughter is captured by the monster but manages to phone Dad on a mobile phone. The family, armed with a map of the sewers on used photocopier paper, set out to rescue her.

Copy picture

The film makes no attempt to be a spoof, nor is the humour enough to provoke belly laughs. Some good editing makes the monster occasionally scary (a cross between a tadpole and Alien), but I found two hours mind-numbingly slow.

The Host's strength is its lack of ambition. It never takes itself very seriously, doesn't bother with any rules, but is more lavish than the average low-budget flick. The characters are almost comic-book in their simplicity, and the meandering plot invites us to give up hope of any real resolution and just enjoy it on its own level. At which point you will either give in, or say, as I do, that this sort of thing is done much better by the likes of Troma. I longed for the Toxic Avenger to stand up and vanquish this half-hearted attempt at modern CGIs, or for a film with the wit of Mars Attacks! to show how better to spend the money. The Host is a novelty film from Korean cinema, but will remain an irritating piece of silliness for those not prepared to indulge it.

Reviewed on: 07 Sep 2006
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The Host packshot
A toxic monster terrorises Seoul.
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Read more The Host reviews:

Anton Bitel ****1/2
Angus Wolfe Murray ****1/2

Director: Bong Joon Ho

Writer: Baek Chul-hyun, Bong Joon Ho, Ha Won-jun

Starring: Song Kang-ho, Byeon Hie-bong, Park Hae-il, Bae Du-na, Ko Ah-sung

Year: 2006

Runtime: 119 minutes

BBFC: 15 - Age Restricted

Country: South Korea


EIFF 2006
Resfest 2006

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