Tuesday, July 24, 2007

The Host (Korea 2005)

The Host (괴물) is a return to the classic monster horror movie, and frankly it hits the nail right on the head. Put Godzilla 2000 and any other failed attempt at CG monster horror out of your mind. Going into this movie I didn't even know what it was about, which probably made it all the more enjoyable for me. Too bad for anyone reading this, because you've already ruined your chances at doing the same. In a nutshell, the movie is about one monster created from hundreds of toxic chemicals poured the water system, which is honestly a very unnerving first scene. This creates our monster and there's not a whole lot of detail on how it happened and really there's no need for it anyway. Too often, movies get caught up explaining every little detail resulting in nothing being left to the imagination, so I was glad when a very brief origin story took place. Then we have our family, the stars of the movie, the group that will drive our story forward and not make it a mindless movie with a shallow plot.

The family is made up of the grandfather; his unsuccessful son that runs his river shop with him, the son's daughter (sweet, but spoiled), the medal winning archer daughter, and finally the college graduate son with no job. Yes, yes, I know they all sound pretty cliche', but they work well as a family unit and through all their dislikes of each other, they truly have heart throughout the movie.

So, the monster appears in the river where the family runs a riverside food service, there's really nothing I can compare it to, it's like picnic food delivered to you in a rented space alongside the river. I desperately wanted to try it after watching this film. Anyway, after attracting a crowd, the monster comes out of the water and starts charging down civilians, resulting in one of the best reveals in a monster movie I've ever seen. The monster just chases and beats people down and really you can't hide from it. In one scene, a bunch of people run into a semi-truck trailer and the monster follows them right in. The next thing you see is blood spilling from the truck. I could go on, but I won't ruin what could be my favorite scene of the entire film. Basically, the monster is swallowing people to eat them later and he takes the granddaughter after the screw-up son grabs the wrong girls hand. The problem is, the government is saying that everyone at the beach was infected with a "virus", which prevents the family, or anyone else from leaving. They're basically using it as an excuse to try a chemical weapon on the monster. The daughter calls her dad and tells him she's in a sewer, but nobody believes the dad and our family must find a way to save his daughter before it's too late.

Overall, I really like The Host, but it wasn't without it's flaws. Sometimes the acting was too over-the-top, like when the family comes together for the first time and they all think the daughter is dead. They're literally rolling on the floor, crying, screaming, and this is the very first meeting with the Aunt and Uncle! The government parts were a little too much, yet I can totally believe something like this happening in real life. However, it really made me feel sorry for the dad and everything they were putting him through, which was probably the point, but it almost broke off into another story of it's own. Some of the pacing wasn't very good. Without ruining too much, the family divides and too much time is spent with each character and an unbelievable amount of time is spent before they all finally get their acts together to make the final rescue attempt for the little girl. I do hope Korea will continue to put out more films like this since it is a genre that needs a lot of help getting back on the right track. I would even like to see a sequel to The Host, with a different looking monster that needs to feed on unsuspecting picnickers in order to survive. A good movie to add to your collection with special features making it all the more worthy of a purchase. (CBDustin)

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