The Host

I’ve wanted to see The Host from the first time I saw the trailer. I was finally able to get hold of it recently. Could it really live up to that kind of promise? I was kind of skeptical, because that trailer is awesome. This had to be an example of the ads being better that the movie. Right?

Wrong.

This movie, though different from the trailer, is much better. There may be less humor than I expected, but it’s far from humorless.  This movie can be very intense at times and the tension has to be broken up. What better way to do that than with a laugh?

  


Family Life


Family plays a very important role in The Host. What could goad someone to rush heedlessly into life threatening situations faster than a family member in danger?

The Park family own and operate a food stall on the banks of the Han river. Three generations work, and apparently live, in this cozy little shop.

Gang-du has just been scolded by his father for eating the customer’s food when his daughter Hyun-seo arrives home from school. We find out that her uncle is a drunk and we see her aunt compete in an archery competition on TV. A quick and elegant way to set up the family dynamic that drives the movie.



Did you see that?


It isn’t long before the real fun begins. While delivering an order Gang-du notices a crowd and goes to find out what they’re looking at.

This scene does a great job in transitioning between the relaxing family life and the chaos that’s about to take place.  The tension quickly builds as we get a peek at something very strange. We know this isn’t going to turn out well, but unfortunately I believe the reactions of the crowd are far too realistic.



“Oh, yeah. Oooh, ahhh, that’s how it always starts. Then later there’s running and screaming.”– Dr. Ian Malcolm from The Lost World: Jurassic Park

Running and Screaming


When all hell does break loose we’re treated to a well planned and amazingly executed scene of pandemonium. All the games of hide and seek with the monster are over. The creature comes out to play and it is amazing. I can’t imagine what this scene cost to make. It would probably be cheaper to genetically engineer a monster and turn it loose.

(FanaticSpace does not condone the genetic engineering of monsters, Fem-Bots are a different matter.)



It all leads to this. We know from the trailer that this is going to happen, but it’s still difficult to watch. As cool as the monster is, the performances by Ah-sung Ko as Hyun-seo and Kang-ho Song as Gang-du are heartbreaking. 

That’s just the beginning… 

 

Verdict


The entire cast is rock solid. The characters are believable, if a bit quirky, and the performances were great. They’ll have you laughing and crying and, at least once, you might wind up doing both.

The effects were unbelievable, in the good way. The monster looked like real flesh and blood. It even looked real in scenes that you know it couldn’t have been in, scenes that had to be CGI.

If you have any interest at all in monster movies then you have to see The Host.

Rent it, borrow it or buy it. Just see see The Host.