One of the most anticipated Korean imports has finally arrived. The Host is the latest from director Bong Joon-ho and stars Korean movie stalwart Kang-ho Song as Park Gang-du in search of his daughter that’s gone missing. Missing because of the monster that’s come out of the Han River in Seoul. Unwilling to stick to the typical monster movie layout, The Host is two hours of almost constant. After a brutal attack on a riverside park, the government and U.S. armed forces descend on the city and quarantine everyone who was near the location, claiming that the creature is a host of a terrible virus that must be contained. But with young Hyun-seo still alive and trapped in the monster’s hiding place, one family sets out to find and free the young girl.
The Host is can be labled more of an action/comedy flick than a horror flick, considering there weren’t any really scary parts. With more shots of the creature than any similar movie to date, The Host gives you want you want, an expertly crafted and showcased monster running amok and making great use of its various environments. The gaping maw filled with razor-sharp teeth is reminiscent of Alien, while its size and swimming ability are like bringing Jaws onto the land. It’s nimble moves gives the impression that the monster isn’t some mindless monster, but rather a calculating monster that’s very aware of its surroundings.
With its frantic pace the story can get a little confusing, but Asian films have a tendency to do that, especially horror films that are based around scaring you silly rather than maintaining a solid through-line. One thing that’s noticeable to Americans is the blatant anti-Americanism you can find throughout the movies theme, from the opening scene right to the end it’s easy to see. It doesn’t detract from the movie, but its charactures of the Americans only gives it a more comedic feel.
Overall, The Host is a solid recreation and rebirth of the creature-feature for the 21st century. With a bigger monster, more realistic story, and intense and lingering shots of the ferocious beast, The Host is sure to be an instant horror classic.