There’s nothing like a creature-feature to while away a hot summer night: I recently watched The Host (2006, Korean with English subtitles) and thoroughly enjoyed it.
Set along the Han River in Seoul, the plot is very simple: an enormous monster comes out of the river and snatches up a little girl. The little girl’s distraught family – father, aunt, uncle and grandfather – try to rescue her. There’s a little more to it than that, of course. The government gets involved due to a reported virus carried by the monster (hence the movie's title); and the government itself is the one responsible for the creation of the beastie, having dumped a bunch toxic chemicals down the drain in the first place. The whole family, with the exception of the little girl, are complete nitwits, struggling against their own natures as much as against their external foes. The girl, on the other hand, is smart, brave and clever, managing not only to stay alive in the monster’s lair, but to help and protect a younger boy as well.
The monster itself is glorious, sort of a giant mutated polliwog with fangs. Largely CGI with some animatronics, it’s awfully good, lurching around on land but then gracefully swinging like a gibbon from the struts on the underside of the bridge, grunting, snarling, drooling, gobbling people down and then regurgitating them back up.
This flick does a nice job of balancing comedy with horror - for most of the movie, the family's attempts at rescue border on farce - although it’s not gory or scary enough to merit true horror film status. Fun stuff and worth a look for sure.
27 minutes ago