The Host (South Korea; 119 min.)


directed by: Joon-ho Bong
starring: Kang-ho Song; Hie-bong Byeon; Du-na Bae
Gwoemul
 

Jeff says: "In the year 2000, an overly compulsive American doctor on a U.S. military
base in Korea orders his Korean employee to pour hundreds of bottles of formaldehyde down a drain, directly into Seoul's Han River. On a bright, sunny day six years later, family patriarch, Park Hie-bong, and his narcoleptic son, Gang-Du, serve snacks to picnickers from a stand on the riverbank. Gang-Du's no-nonsense daughter, Hyun-seo, arrives home complaining that her dad didn't show up for her school pageant, only her
unemployed uncle did, smelling of booze. Later the three sit down to watch Gang-Du's sister, a crack archer, lose an important competition on national television because she can't get her shot off on time. Clearly this family is drifting towards dysfunction.

"Outside a crowd begins to queue: Something large hanging under a nearby bridge slowly uncoils into the water and swims toward the bank. A man tosses a beer can its way just before it leaps out of the water, huge, hungry, and fish-scaly, to go rampaging through the park, devouring folks right and left. One of those dragged away is Hyun-seo, who is given up for dead until she calls her father on her cell phone to say she's trapped in a sewer. The family unites to save her, and to do so, they must overcome their ineptitude, track down Hyun-seo, and organize a rescue, while being hounded
by the Koreans and Americans who fear that Gang-Du has contracted a dread disease from the monster, and constantly foiled by the monster itself.

"This movie is a nice blend of horror, farce, tragedy, heroism, and poignancy. It was good to see Korean actress Du-Na Bae follow up her role as the somnabulant Son in LINDA LINDA LINDA with this more active turn. She's clearly a versatile actress. While the effects were perhaps not quite up to the standards of mainstream Hollywood, it's complex storyline made for a much more satisfying experience. I give it 4 cats."