The Host (2006)


The Host (2006) – Joon-ho Bong

Gwoemul (original title)

Summary:  A Korean scientist is forced to dispose 200 bottles of formaldehyde by pouring them down a drain, which eventually flows into the Hans River running through the capital Seoul. By the riverside, a small snack bar is owned by Park Hie-Bong (Hie-bong Byeon), an elderly man in his late sixties who lives with his two sons, daughter and granddaughter.  A popular spot that is always busy, one day terror is unleashed when a monster emerges from the river bank and attacks everyone in its sight.  In the mist of panic, Park’s granddaughter, Hyun-seo (Doona Bae), is suddenly snatched away by the creature before it disappears back into the river.  Overcome with sadness the family believe she is dead, until one of Park’s sons, and the girl’s father Gang-du (Kang-ho Song), receives a phone call from his daughter who tells him she is still alive.  Despite the Korean authorities and the U.S. army preventing everyone to go near the area and the creature, Park, Gang-du and the rest of the family vow to save Hyun-seo.

My Review:   “It’s Jaws via Jurassic Park” reads the quote splashed across the DVD’s front cover, initially grabbing my attention.  Quite a claim if you consider a good monster movie hasn’t been released for decades, but this certainly hits the spot.  Whilst I’ve learnt the South-Koreans have nailed the horror and gore genre (through Sympathy for Mr Vengeance and Oldboy), it can also be said for that niche genre where films like Jaws, Alien and Tremors rest their suspenseful heads.  Of course the South-Korean signature of revenge hasn’t gone a-miss here either, combine that with special effects handled by the same team behind Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire and Sin City and you’re onto an absolute winner.  Fantastic!

Rating: 4/5

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