The Host review by The Grim Ringler

By some mystical, magical sort of way (read: a fellow nerd and friend who watches what happens in the Asian film market and seeks out the good stuff), I was able to catch The Host before it hits American theaters and I have to say that the hype is true – this is a very good movie. The beauty of this film is that it comes out of nowhere and tricks us into thinking that it’s just a monster movie, when, well, life is always more complicated than simply saying just about anything. Yes, this is a monster movie, but it’s a monster movie that raises the bar in what we should expect from these sorts of films and really brings something new to the genre.

The Host begins with three generations of a family living and working near a Korean beach selling food to tourists and locals. It’s a meager existence, but they are a happy lot, for the most part. Grandfather owns the business, his son works it with him, and the son’s daughter keeps the men company. The serenity of their lives is broken when a mysterious creature appears in the river and begins gobbling up their customers. Things worsen for the family when the young girl is taken by the creature and disappears with it into the depths of the river. Everyone believes she is dead until her father, a lazy man that has never been very motivated to do much of anything, gets a call from her on his cell phone. Finally compelled to do something, the man must free himself, and the rest of his family from the government agency that has taken all who came in contact with the creature into a contamination area. Once free though, how will they find the girl, and will they be able to find her before it’s too late?

A fantastic movie, it’s a shame that Americans didn’t really hear much about this before it was released. It’s the sort of film that is dumped into theaters without any real care about it reaching an audience. Sure, some people will find it and see it, but it was a relatively inexpensive film to buy and will make the most of its money on video. GRRR! This is a movie that should probably be seen in a theater. The monster is creepy, the music well done, and the actors are fantastic. And that’s what you don’t know going in, that, at its heart, this is a film about a family. The father is a moron, yes, but when he knows that his daughter is in peril he’ll stop at nothing to save her. There too is a grim reality to the film where, not everyone will survive, and it may not always be the fault of the monster. Here is a world where it is the government (With a lot of help from the good old USA) that has created the literal monster and, it is they who are willing to destroy it at all costs – even when it means people will die. There is a surprising amount of depth to a film that seems like your run-of-the-mill monster movie. And yes, the monster is awesome. Very creepy, very smart, and pretty well conceived, though the CGI doesn’t hold up to American standards, but you know what, you forget that when the story is this compelling.

Not a masterpiece in the grand sense of the word but when it comes to this sub-genre, this is indeed a masterpiece. It’s rare when you can catch a monster movie with so much heart and emotion and when you do find them, it’s all the better and proves that old dogs can indeed learn new tricks.


7 out of 10 Jackasses
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