To get formalities out of the way, "The Host" is a Korean movie with English subtitles (for the ones among us that missed Korean language 101 in the classroom). To categorize it in a genre such as a horror movie, a sci-fi movie and so on would be doing it great disservice. If some of you are still bitching about genres and technicalities like that I would categorize this movie in the custom made genre of multipurpose/multilayered monster movie. Yep this is a brand new category created by me with, guess what, only one movie in it "The Host".
The premise of this movie is as unoriginal as they come. Toxic wastes into the river, great monster born, monster likes humans ala creme(they are never vegetarian are they,lol), humans fight back. So you may think, it is all pretty much b-movie fodder why the fuss? My answer would be it is all in the execution. This movie succeeds in so many levels in my book it is truely remarkable, lets check why that is, shall we?
For the CG whores among you who think that any CG creation worse than Gollum is not satisfactory stop reading now. The monster is decent CG wise and the closest relative I can think of quality wise is the monster in Hellboy. It is at that level of design. It has a pretty unique design and a definitely unique type of movement especially when on high grounds. The monster though is only the excuse to watch the movie not the main reason to enjoy it.
The basic premise is that among the victims (diseased/missing) of the monster's attack is a little girl. The girl's closest relatives a band of 4 people (3 male, 1 female) start looking for her. They are by no means superhumans or amazingly trained, they are just driven by a sense of loss especially when the one missing is the youngest of the family clan. The depiction of those characters, their reactions to this unusual situation and the ways that they go about to rescue the girl is what makes this movie standout. At the same time there are parallel views of how the little girl survives in the "lair" of the monster while the search and rescue mission is looking for her. This movie has funny moments, has decent action, has political subtext (US is the "bad guy", in a way), has really good acting ( I was particularly impressed by the little girl) and amazing direction. The greatest compliment I can give this movie is that it took a genre that is purely for laughs sake(big monster in a city) and made a proper full scale movie out of it. Personally, I had such a change of emotions during the movie I couldnt believe it. It was nothing but the shallow experience I was expecting and trust me it isnt the easiest thing to get surprised (albeit pleasantly) by movies this past decade.
This is a 10/10 movie in my book and I urge you all to watch it. I am sure different people will have different reactions to it but I think that it would all come down to the commom denominator that this is an enjoyable movie.
p.s. I ll be back with one more "merc with a mouthish" post about movies next time and then we are moving on to other things. See you around!