In recent years I’ve started to expand my movie horizons by watching more foreign-language films. The first foreign-language film I’ve watched this year is one I’ve previously not seen; The Host.
The Host is a South Korean monster movie that blends comedy, horror and drama. The monster of this film being some kind of giant mutant fishy thing. To give its technical name. Gang-du runs a snack-bar beside a river with his father. When the mutant emerges and attacks the area Gang-du’s daughter Hyun-seo gets taken by the creature and is presumed dead. However the creature has brought her to its sewer lair. She manages to phone Gang-du to let him know she’s still alive.
The film follows Gang-du and his family (father, brother and sister) as they attempt to find Hyun-seo and avoid being captured by the government, who have quarantined those that came into contact with the creature because of an apparent virus the creature was host to.
While I enjoyed the film a great deal it was a little bit strange. The mix of family drama and humour outweighs the horror or action. Some say it’s too long and there’s not enough scenes with the monster. However I personally thought the scenes involving the relationships between the family members were very well made and gave the film more character. It says a lot about a “monster movie” when you can enjoy the scenes when the monster isn’t on-screen just as much as the ones where it is.
I really found the film entertaining. You get more than just a monster movie. Sure it doesn’t have much in the way of scares, but it’s fun, thought-provoking and moving. It manages to perfectly blend the thrills of a monster film with the humour and slapstick typical of a dysfunctional family comedy film. It also makes for a decent political satire in regards to America’s military presence within Korea.
As you can probably tell I really enjoyed the film. Those looking for an all out action packed monster movie should look elsewhere. For those who want some monster-flavoured humourous-yet-touching melodrama then this is for you.