The Host  (2 -DISC EDITION) [DVD]
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Korean special-effects-laden horror with comedic overtones sees dysfunctional family united in opposition to a gruesome foe from parts unknown. The Parks are an average suburban Seoul family; Park Senior, in his 60's, runs a kiosk by the Han River; his eldest son is a bit of a waste of skin whose wife has left him years ago with a young daughter; his younger son is a layabout with no intention of working; his daughter alone makes him proud - an prizewinning archer of note. Granddaughter little Hyun-Seo is the apple of everyone's eye so when she's abducted by a horrible monster that emerges from the depths of the Han one day, the family is righteously upset. The prospective loss of the only thing holding them all together, galvanizes them into a monster-hunting posse extraordinaire and off they go to slay the dreadful beast.
The Host has managed to become Korea's most successful film to date, winning acclaim both domestically and internationally, and it's easy to see why. At first glance, it looks like any other monster movie--an amphibious creature from the depths stalks and devours an urban population--but there's actually much, much more going on beneath the surface. Not that there needs to be: although it has a fairly hefty 119-minute runtime, The Host is fast moving, with plenty of action and a truly gruesome-looking monster. Visually, it's a gorgeous movie, with stunning special effects and beautiful settings (even the rather nasty sewer scenes look perversely great). However, the real crux of The Host isn't really anything to do with the monster: at heart, this is a family drama, not a horror movie.
The story focuses on one small family and how they react to the weird goings-on all around them. When the youngest member of the family, Hyun-seo, is snatched by the titular monster, the family is devastated until a call from her mobile phone gives them fresh hope. Unfortunately, everyone who came into contact with the being has been quarantined due to a virus scare, so they have to escape the Korean authorities to go on a rescue mission. Then the American army steps in, and all hell breaks loose...
It's a very original idea, with nuanced and well-written characters, plenty of humour, and a darker undercurrent of social and political commentary, topped off with a thrilling monster-killing adventure. Brilliant, in other words. --Sarah Dobbs
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Top Customer Reviews
With all the thrilling but also the mercy for the beast,
It is not just a director amusement, but another way, another occasion for this highly talented guy to decline his sense of drama to the next genre, and still engage and enthrall the audience.
I hate when people give the whole plot away, so I won't, but I will say take note of the opening scene it is a reconstruction of what was actually a quite horrifying true event. What Joon-ho Bong the Director does is extrapolate from that event and using an accessible entertaining film subtly comments on the real horrors that such cavalier attitudes will lead us to and no I don't mean the monster - state interference; state indifference, rumour and obfuscation; deliberate demonising everything we can see already in a world deliberately being taught to be afraid of its own shadow.
And the finale - Hollywood would never have the nerve.
Above all a cracking film - enjoy!
In year 2000 an American military pathologist orders his less than enthusiastic Korean subaltern to dump a large stock of toxic chemicals into the river Han, which flows through Seoul. Six years later the consequence of this act emerges from water and starts eating people... A not very successful family, the Parks, is terribly affected by the first attack - and they decide to react, in their own, not very brilliant way... And then the film really begins.
After so many monster films, making something original and interesting is a real challenge - South Korean director Bong Joon-ho met this challenge head on and won a BRILLIANT victory! The monster in this film is unlike anything we saw before on the screen - it is part grotesque, part terrifying, it is both animal and not-fully-animal, it is lethal (definitely!) but not invulnerable, it can surprise but can also be bluntly direct, in short this is a complex, fascinating creature, completely unlike most standard-issue Hollywood created monsters.
But the really brilliant move by Bong Joon-ho was to realize that the key to the success of a monster movie is not only the monster - it's also the people and their story. This film is so good because from the beginning we start to care for the Park family and that keeps us interested and creates real tension. I will not say much about the Parks, to avoid spoilers, but they are definitely not the most brilliant of people and they had it rather hard in life - that helps a lot as it is always natural to root for the underdog.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Great film and a fine example of how others do it better than Hollywood on occasion.Published 25 days ago by Amazon Customer
Interesting and a bit different, give it a go. Although the effects are visually an affront to the eyes but in a it's so bad its good kind of wayPublished 28 days ago by jw12
An American mortician (or possibly pathologist) orders his Korean junior to empty some dusty bottles of formaldehyde down the sink (and into the Han... Read more