The Host (Joon-Ho Bong, 2006)
The good old Asian monster flick genre has been on hold since the Japanese decided to stop making Godzilla features. Well, the whole King Kong concept has been exploited since the beginnings of the special effects in Cinema. Gigantism is a very Japanese and especially American complex. With the more recent remakes, the Jurassic Park franchise, Cloverfield, etc. The monster genre was a little tired lately.
The Host, a Korean monster film opens similarly to Danny Boyle's 28 Days Later, a scientific incident. In the British film it's the infected apes that spread the disease while in the Korean film it's the toxic substance thrown in the river that created this fish-like monster. Besides, the horror/action angle of the film, the story implies a funny 21st century family of a lazy lunatic dad in his thirties, his yuppie cum little criminal brother, his athlete sister, his smart daughter and his good will father. Each of these characters will learn and overpass his weakness to survive to the passage of the wild creature.
Tinted with moments of pure horror using the classic codes of the genre while injecting a great dose of humor and just a tint of sentimentality this crossover of genres is a very hip movie.
It's a crowd pleaser. The kind of film that can easily become a cult film among young film lovers. The mix of genres may irritate the purists of the horror genre and maybe some older cinephiles will feel that it's too "cool" or too young...
The colors of the film are superb and like many Asian films they are a little saturated but it balances itself with an extraordinary cinematography. We are in the presence of an eye candy looking picture; read here in the most positive way.
Despite some very interesting moments and many twists, I got bored by the whole thing. I think that the story lacked of tightness in its final thirty minutes. However, The Host is a very good movie.