The Host (2006) ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Hilarious, horrific and moving, The Host is so much more than the monster movie it was advertised as.

 

 

Directed by Joon-ho Bong

 

What do you really expect from a monster movie? Action? Horror? Adventure? The Host has all of these, but throws in a dysfunctional family, and political satire to boot. So yes, tonally it jumps all over the place, but if you can accept it for the wild, preposterous ride that it is, The Host is a hell of a good time.

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When a monster mysteriously emerges from the Han river, terrorizes everything it sees and kidnaps a young girl, her family will stop at nothing to save her. Except for the fact that her family is filled with hilariously incompetent people. At the same time the government is hell bent on containing a virus that the monster is spreading. What follows is a hilarious, white knuckled ride that i can only describe as a live action version of ‘The Simpsons’, if it was directed by Quentin Tarantino.

The Host manages such an impressive feat with its jarring tonal shifts that its a miracle the audience doesn’t get whiplash. The Host gleefully dabbles in its unconventional mishmash of genres, emerging as one of the best monster movies of the 21st century. Although i have to emphasize, this is a movie about a dysfunctional family first, and monster movie second.

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I’ve read quite a bit of backlash for the film being ‘too wacky’, or ‘too serious’ at times, and watching the marketing for the film, i cant really blame the mixed reviews from the public. What makes Joon-ho Bong’s film so special, is his ability to effectively blend disparate genres like comedy and horror. Its a shame then that people come in expecting a pure horror monster feature, when The Host offers so much more than that. Its a oddly touching tale of how far a family would go to save someone, set against the backdrop of political satire, wrapped up in a monster adventure. How is that not awesome?

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