The Host [괴물, Gwoemul] (2006)
Starring Song Kang-ho, Byun Hee-bong, Park Hae-il, Bae Doona, Go Ah-sung, Lee Jae-eung, Lee Dong-ho, Scott Wilson
Directed by Bong Joon-ho
Expectations: Very high.
The Host is a monster movie featuring scenes of terror and peril that will give you goosebumps, but to be technical it’s not really a horror film. Not the best review to post on Halloween, but it’s the only one I have so it’ll have to do! So while it’s part monster movie, part action movie & part horror movie, under the surface it’s actually a drama about the nature of family — in this case, a dysfunctional family — and how they deal with the life-threatening, horror-movie circumstances they find themselves in. This might make the film sound like it’s not the type of thing that warrants viewing for a genre fan, but the opposite is true. The Host walks the line between genres exceptionally well, allowing the drama, the horror, as well as lots of comedy and action to work together brilliantly. It combines into one of the finest and most enjoyable monster movies I’ve ever seen.
The Host opens with an Army officer (Scott Wilson, who played Herschel on The Walking Dead) instructing his Korean assistant to dump a whole shit-ton of hazardous chemicals down the drain. The Korean man cautions that these chemicals will go straight into the Han River, most likely causing major damage, but the ruthless American cares nothing for this. So the assistant begins the long task of dumping hundreds of bottles of the stuff down the drain.