Set in Seoul, South Korea, Joon-ho Bong’s “Gwoemul” or translated into English, “The Host” features some great thrills, chills and scares with this 2006 release. Centralizing on a family who’s personalities are vastly different and most times humorous, the youngest member, Hyun-seo is captured by the monster early on in the film.
In the opening scene, you see two men in a laboratory arguing about formaldehyde. The superior hates dust with a passion, so orders the inferior to pour out every drop of the toxic liquid that had dust on the bottle, into the drain that would lead to the Han River. We are talking gallons among gallons of this stuff, which will eventually mutate some form of sea life into the movies main character, “The Host.”
What I like most about this film was the fact that the script was written to where the viewers didn’t have to wait until the middle or end to see exactly what the monster was, what it looked like and how it moved. Joon-ho Bong did a wonderful job in setting up small tidbits of family background and then quickly bringing the monster to the forefront with a heart pounding initial chain of events. Events that led to the monster leaping out of the river and terrorizing the people and businesses on and around the river bank of the Han River. After the monster had enough, it then snatched up Hyun-seo in front of her father before diving back into the river with her and out of sight.
To me there is power in revealing the monster so early on with this film. The rest of the storyline and acting was so well put together that it gave the movie such substance, it gives the viewers time to focus on the family, their problems and how that they stick together throughout their differences to face the terrifying monster, instead of spending time guessing what it is and what it looked like.
The script also divulged how the government attempted to explain the creature as being “The Host” of a deadly disease that they are convinced the father of Hyun-seo is infected with, forcing a quarantine of the whole family.
A little on the lengthy side for horror films, a minute under two hours, it still keeps the viewers attention. There are versions in the US that have well done Englishe dubbed audio and very accurate subtitles and has been recently released on Blu-Ray format. As of right now the film is available to watch instantly on Netflix as well. I would recommend this to any horror film enthusiast, especially ones that love Monster Movies.