The Host (2006)
Written By: AR
Edited By: Grave Reviews Staff
Director(s): Bong Joon-Ho
Writers(s): Baek Chul-hyun, Bong Joon-Ho
Producer(s): Choi Yong-bae
Date Released: July 27, 2006
Song Kang-ho – Park Gang-du
Byun Hee-bong – Park Hee-bong
Park Hae-il – Park Nam-il
Bae Doo-na – Park Nam-joo
Go Ah-sung – Park Hyun-seo
Lee Jae-eung – Se-jin
Lee Dong-ho – Se-joo
Rating = 3/5 Graves
***May contain some spoilers***
Park Gang-du (Song Kang-ho) and his father are busy running their food stand in the crowded Han River. While serving their customers, a strange creature is seen lurking in the nearby bridge. The creature lunges and terrorizes the parkgoers, gobbling everyone that comes into its path. While running away from the creature, Gang-du grabs the wrong girl’s hand. His daughter, Hyun-seo (Go Ah-sung), is left behind and captured by the monster. Believed to be dead, Hyun-seo is mourned by her family. The people who have come into contact with the creature are deemed infected by a mysterious virus and are transferred into a quarantine facility. After undergoing several medical tests, Gang-du receives a phone call coming from his daughter who says that she is trapped in a huge sewer. The Park family evades doctors and military personnel to search for Hyun-seo themselves. They must learn to work together and set aside their differences if they ever hope to see Hyun-seo once again.
The movie does not show a lot of blood and gore. However, there is still a lot of action and violence in it. The blood-stained body parts and wounds of the casualties are shown when the amphibious organism first attacked the crowd at the Han River. The monster is a CGI creation depicted to be a massive dolphin-like creature with deformed fish fins and a horrifying mouth that could easily devour multiple humans. The creature later spews the skull and bones of its devoured human preys. The characters bleed a lot from the result of getting hit by the monster or from the biological weapon released by the government.
The Grave Review
One of Director Bong Joon-ho’s earlier works, The Host (2006) is already a crowning achievement. He has manipulated everything in his directing arsenal to create visceral fear from the safety of the audience’s abode. The seamless editing, harmonious use of sound effects and scoring, alongside the fine acting of the actors all contribute to making this one of the best monster movies of the century. The underrated technical element of sound design is conducted like an orchestral symphony, weaving in and out to increase the terror wrought by the monster.
The movie is gritty and unsentimental, showing us the grim reality of the world we live in. This is a world where children may die, and they ultimately do. Knowing that no one is safe heightens the dread the audience is feeling. Nevertheless, the director manages to instill heart and soul through the Park family. The central theme in the movie manages to illustrate the importance of family without verging on being trite and cliched. An authentic depiction of a family unit, dysfunctional they may be, is highlighted by the constrained dialogue and meaningful gestures between each member. Their banter and contradictory emotions inject light-hearted and funny moments in this otherwise gloomy film.
The relevance of the movie’s subject matter in today’s time underscores its staying power. Studying the subtext and metaphor within the movie would lead to a greater social critique but it does not rely on that and is able to tell a horrifying tale all on its own.
For those foregoing reasons, Grave Reviews gives The Host (2006) three out of five graves.
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