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The Host
The Host
Director: Bong Joon-ho
Genres: Indie & Art House, Comedy, Drama, Horror, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Mystery & Suspense
R     2007     2hr 0min

A creature plunges from the han river bridge into the river emerging on its shores for a feeding frenzy upon onlookers. When a young girl is snatched in the melee her family set off to recover her from the monster that the...  more »


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Movie Details

Director: Bong Joon-ho
Genres: Indie & Art House, Comedy, Drama, Horror, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Mystery & Suspense
Sub-Genres: Indie & Art House, Comedy, Drama, Horror, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Mystery & Suspense
Studio: Magnolia Home Entertainment
Format: DVD - Widescreen,Anamorphic - Subtitled
DVD Release Date: 07/24/2007
Release Year: 2007
Run Time: 2hr 0min
Screens: Widescreen,Anamorphic
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 2
MPAA Rating: R (Restricted)
Languages: Korean, English, English
Subtitles: English, Spanish
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Movie Reviews

Wonderfully original monster flick.
trashcanman | Hanford, CA United States | 05/16/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Pay no mind to the countless comparisons to "Jaws", "Alien", and the rest of the monster classics that a quality film like this always draws. This one stands on its own as an original mix of harsh political commentary, family drama, black comedy, and horror. The metaphor for the hysteria over the asian SARS epidemic is thick and the accusatory tone towards America's interventionist ways and the alarmist media's sensationalism is thicker. But don't think this is some heavy-handed self-serving political film that wallows in its own symbolism; this film is about the importance of family pulling together and taking care of each other when noone else will. Oh yes, and there's a monster in there somewhere too.
I'm going to drop a few minor spoilers now so if you want to go in completely cold and experience the full thrill I received viewing this movie you might want to go watch the film now. Alright, on with the content review. Let me put it this way, I got my money's worth in the first 20 minutes of the film. The sudden appearance of the beast breaks the most entrenched of monster movie standards: the slow reveal. The almost complete lack of buildup shocked me as the monster came charging out of the background in its high-velocity and unsettlingly awkward gait with ferocious momentum sending humanity flying left and right. What follows is one of the greatest rampage sequences ever seen by human eyes. I was absolutely thrilled by it and only the most jaded of film fans could feel otherwise. In fact, aside from a few gaping plot holes, my only real complaint about this movie is that it climaxes so soon. That's not to say the rest of the film isn't good, but it never reaches that fever pitch again.
As the trigger-happy government declares quarantine and almost immediately begins asserting it's will on the victims -even as they still mourn their lost family members- the media spreads word of a deadly and highly contagious virus that the creature is carrying (hence, "the host"). But as the film progresses, we don't see the evidence of any abnormal sickness, just the paranoia of the people in reaction to the media's hysterics and government's jumping to conclusions. As our protagonists, the Park family, search for their little girl (Hyun-seo, taken to the monster's den for later consumption) we come to see that when the government is incompetent and overbearing and the general populace is collectively terrified of the guy standing next to them the only things you can rely on are your own family and what you can see and do for yourself.
The ne'er-do-well Park family consists of Hyun-seo's father, a slow-witted narcoleptic, her aunt who's a professional archer with a tendency to freeze under pressure, a college-educated alcoholic of an uncle with a hot temper who can't find a job, and a caring grandfather who holds them all together. The dysfunction of the family is humorous to watch, but the devotion they all share in the search for their little girl is touching; and that's the real heart and soul of this film. The monster is menacing, the government is corrupt, the Americans are comically over-the-top self-serving jerks, the populace at large are terrified for all the wrong reasons, and the real disease is the paranoia spread by the media but the Park family's struggle is the real story here and it's a great one.
A Korean Box Office Champion Arrives With The Ferocity Of An
K. Harris | Las Vegas, NV | 07/13/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)

"I felt a bit of skepticism when I heard that the top-grossing film in Korean history was headed to a big screen near me--and (gulp!) it was a "Godzilla" type monster movie. And then the critical reviews started pouring in--let's just say, they're pretty impressive! So intrigued, but still very wary, I headed out to Bong Joon-ho's "The Host." After a brief setup and a quick introduction to an impossibly dysfunctional family, a creature emerges from the Han River and starts to terrorize the citizens of Seoul. And I was hooked! Frightening and funny, the emergence of this indescribable creature (part fish, part "Alien," part unmentionable) is so well staged--I was alternately shocked and amused. From that moment on, "The Host" never let go and became a wildly entertaining ride.

The film introduces us to an unlikely group of protagonists--an inept and childlike man (played by Song Kang-ho), his put-upon father, and his school aged daughter. When the creature first attacks the city, the daughter is carried away. Grieving for her, father and son are reunited with Kang-ho's other siblings--a sister who is a competitive archer and a brother, college educated but unemployed. This quartet clearly has issues, and Kang-ho feels guilty for what has happened. After being isolated by the military for having been exposed to the creature (now being reported as the host of an unknown virus), Kang-ho becomes convinced his daughter is still alive. The family bands together and decides to break out and track down the creature's movements in an effort to locate the girl. Equal parts believable family interplay, genuine horror, slapstick, and harrowing moments with surprisingly real consequences--"The Host" is a multilayered film that works on many levels.

One of the more questionable critiques that I've encountered about "The Host" is that its anti-American posturing is offensive. This being, first and foremost, a creature feature--I find this a tad oversensitive. The overt acts of villainy perpetuated by the Americans in question (such as the careless dumping of formaldehyde into the environment) are done with such a gleeful, over-the-top tone--it has more of a comedic effect than anything. In cartoons, these scientific or military "villains" would be twirling their mustaches and cackling at an evil plot. And, in fact, the first real "hero" of the piece is an American soldier who stands up to the creature to save others. It's a bit of a double standard, as well. How many times do American films cast another country in the same light (or much worse)? It strikes me as the "you can dish it out, but you can't take it" syndrome if Americans aren't able to take a bit of satiric poking every once in a while from someone else. However, in the main scheme of things--the characters within "The Host" couldn't care less about the political climate. Much of the international relations information is provided as background via TV reports that are generally being ignored!

Now that I've made this film sound political, let me just reiterate--it's not. It's wild, it's fun, it's scary, it's unexpected--but most surprisingly, it's also genuinely moving. I actually cared about the central family in "The Host." Ordinary citizens, they are thrust into the role of heroes. They put aside their differences, come together as a family, and sacrifice everything they have for one another. Comedically complicated, they still convey real familial devotion. The forward momentum of the film is provided by love and a commitment to endure any hardship for those close to you. So this B-movie monster flick is grounded by, of all things, heart. I can understand someone not liking "The Host." A monster running amok in a scary movie is not for everyone (and, although, I mention comedic elements a lot--this is a scary movie). But adding the wackiness, the slapstick, and (most especially, for some) the subtitles--you're bound to have your share of detractors. But I found "The Host" great fun. The creature looks awesome and the action scenes, in particular, are riveting. Do yourself a favor, if you're into this type of film--check out "The Host." KGHarris, 03/07.

Do Not Watch the Dubbed Version
Alexander Yao | Beaverton, OR USA | 01/31/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Really, do not watch the dubbed version of this movie. If you're watching that then you are not watching the same movie. I have a feeling that nearly all of the negative reviews are due to the atrocious dubbing this film received.

If you're not willing to watch the subtitled version, then I suggest you avoid the film, because it will be an awful experience. I just watched a clip of it on YouTube and I was cringing!

The dubbing is an insult to the original cast and crew of this film. Please. Please. Please. Do not watch the dubbed version.
Best movie monster since 1982's The Thing. A Classic.
Colin M. Maguire | Seattle, WA | 07/15/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This is a fantastic movie - it has everything going on for it. The tone is pitch-perfect, and surprisingly is truly the family that makes this film shine; despite, yes, the best -classic, already- movie monster chaos since the original JPark came out. It was certainly the best audience reaction I have seen at an event movie since JPark - people were cheering for the family, and going nuts at the scary parts. And it IS scary - quite a bit. Better than most, by a long shot. Now...I am not one for humor in horror films...and going in knowing that the advertising campaign for this hit was aiming a bit for the comedy angle - the comedy in this film is fantastic. It's a bit over the top - but not TOO, like some trailers suggest. It's in small doses, is well done, and mainly it's to keep the focus and involvement with the family - and once you see the film, and are part of the charm of the actors for two hours, you understand the hype over the appeal of the characters. They ARE us. For a slacker who came out of the Grunge scene - I felt the lead actor was dead-on, and you connect with his despair. As a matter of fact, all the actors are just perfect for their parts in The Host. The warm moments are very genuine. A very pleasant surprise - and just as important a reason to see this movie as The Host itself..!! Everything you've heard is true - the monster is terrific. The fact that the director had the monster show up in the first 15 minutes in broad daylight sets the bar for the rest of the film's manic action. The beast is a mean one - and the monster itself just absolutely ROCKS. I loved watching this scary creature! The pure excitement that The Host infuses is remarkable. These scenes are the best in the business, hands down. Excitement, and adventure. This is a 5 Star movie. It is smart, honest and extremely well realized - it is not merely up to par with Hollywood surpasses Hollywood movies. This one will be around for a long time. It is a major event movie - especially for genre fans. It was nice to go to a show and see the audience get all riled up like they did for Jaws - people just went nuts for it, it was a breath of fresh air for a life-long monster enthusiast."