The Host (2006)
Release year: 2006
Director: Joon-ho Bong
Screenwriter: Joon-ho Bong, Won-jun Ha, Chul-hyun Baek
Starring: Kang-ho Song, Hee-Bong Byun, Hae-il Park, Doona Bae, Ko Asung, Dal-su Oh, Je-mun Yun
Ratings: 1 Empire Award nomination: Best Horror
After poison has been dumped in the Han River in Seoul a monster emerges and starts attacking people. When Park Gang-du (Kang-ho) sees the monster drag his daughter (Ah-sung) away, he and his family start a quest to find and attempt to rescue the girl.
South Korean movie The Host has by many been named one of the best monster movies made and with good reason. Blending horror, laughs, tension and satire with an intellectual and well-written story, it is a movie that keeps you gripped both attention wise and emotional. The characters are realistic and with plenty of heart, making it just as interesting watching the dynamic of the family as watching the action scenes with the monster. Song previously worked with the director on Memories of Murder (2003) and is one of the most popular actors of his country and rightfully so. His character is one you should find annoying, but he quickly gets under your skin and if he doesn’t, he is helped by the emotional outburst his father makes in defense of him. Said father is terrifically played by Byun (Okja, 2017) and the sister and brother by Bae (Cloud Atlas, 2012) and Park (War of the Arrows, 2011). All together the entire cast does a great job, but the most impressive performance must be that of young Asung (Snowpiercer, 2013) who amazes in her scenes captured by the monster, her soulful eyes enhanced by dirt. The special effects are good, but you somehow feel it wouldn’t matter if they weren’t. Unlike most monster movies the focus is so much on the characters and their story and here this excels over far the most of its genre. Amazing and a must for anyone who enjoys a good monster movie.
The event described in the beginning of the film is based on an actual event. In February 2000 at a U.S. Military facility located in the center of Seoul, a U.S. Military civilian employee named Mr. McFarland was ordered to dispose of formaldehyde by dumping it into the sewer system that led to the Han River, despite the objection of a South Korean subordinate.
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Picture copyrights: Camera Film