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The Host

3.6 5
Director: Bong Joon-ho, Song Kang-ho, Byun Hee-bong, Park Hae-il

Cast: Bong Joon-ho, Song Kang-ho, Byun Hee-bong, Park Hae-il


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When a young girl is snatched away from her father by a horrifying giant monster that emerges from the River Han to wreak havoc on Seoul, her entire family sets out to locate the beast and bring their little girl back home to safety in South Korean director Bong Joon-ho's big-budget creature feature. Hee-bong is a man of modest means who


When a young girl is snatched away from her father by a horrifying giant monster that emerges from the River Han to wreak havoc on Seoul, her entire family sets out to locate the beast and bring their little girl back home to safety in South Korean director Bong Joon-ho's big-budget creature feature. Hee-bong is a man of modest means who runs a snack bar on the banks of the River Han. Along with his slow-witted eldest son, Gang-du; Gang-du's young daughter, Hyun-seo; archery champion daughter Nam-joo; and unemployed, shirker son, Nam-il, Hee-Bong has managed to maintain a close relationship with his family despite the hardships that come with being a single father. When a rampaging fiend erupts from the Han and throws the city of Seoul into a state of emergency, Gang-du is heartbroken to see his precious little girl scooped up by the scaly creature and spirited away to an unknown destination. This is one family that always sticks together, though, and as the rest of the city denizens scramble to take cover, Hee-bong, Gang-du, Nam-joo, and Nam-il set out to prove that they're not letting their little girl go without a fight.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Jason Buchanan
To craft an effective horror comedy is a difficult enough task in its own right; add some heartfelt family drama, poetic political commentary, and a giant formaldehyde monster into the mix, and you've got a serious challenge on your hands. While all signs indicate that a big-budget genre-bender such as Bong Joon-ho's The Host should well buckle under the weight of its own ambition, the filmmaker who explored Korea's first-ever serial-killer case in the stunning Memories of Murder creates a stunning creature feature that is every bit as thrilling, moving, and darkly humorous as that earlier effort. A film that shares strong parallels with the original Japanese Godzilla, The Host opens with a recreation of an actual military transgression that took place on an American military base in Seoul in February 2000. Ordered by a high-ranking American military official to directly violate accepted procedures for chemical disposal by dumping gallons upon gallons of expired formaldehyde into a drain leading to the Han River, a low-ranking Korean soldier reluctantly carries out his duties under visible duress. While it may not have the visceral impact of the hydrogen bomb blast responsible for spawning Godzilla, the reckless polluting of the planet as presented illustrates precisely how humankind has failed to learn from its past mistakes while simultaneously highlighting increased international concern over military arrogance. Of course, it goes without saying that the illicit chemical dump has some particularly troubling consequences in the film, and this is where Bong's talents as a filmmaker truly begin to shine. When we first meet the Park family, they come off as a textbook study in modern dysfunction; immediately after precocious schoolgirl Hyun-seo (Ko Ah-sung) complains that her uncle has shown up in her classroom reeking of alcohol, her developmentally stunted father responds by plopping her down in front of the television and slapping a cold beer in her hand for dinner. Not only is Hyun-seo's bumbling man-child of a father an entirely ill-suited candidate for parenthood and her uncle a hopeless lush, but her aunt is a self-flagellating overachiever who seems hell-bent on sabotaging a potentially successful sporting career. The only member of the family who seems to have his head screwed on straight is Hyun-seo's put-upon grandfather, but he's too busy running the family food stand to serve as an effective (grand)father figure to the young girl. When a giant rampaging beast comes blasting up from the Han and snatches up little Hyun-seo, Bong goes over the top to portray the family's desperate struggle to avert military quarantine for a purported monster-borne virus and rescue the young girl with a grace generally not afforded to the typical monster flick. The thoughtfully written characters are exceptionally well-realized by a talented cast, the pacing is unique and distinctive, and the highly innovative twists are both thrilling and shattering. Much credit for the film's distinctive tone goes to composer Lee Byung-woo, whose classy and memorable score helps the film transcend its slimy mutant-river-monster origins and elevate it to a new and emotionally resonant level. The final showdown between family and beast is staged with a genuine elegance. Despite the fact that some of The Host's humor and cultural commentary may be lost on foreign viewers, the film still stands as an impressive blend of drama, action, and humor that never ceased to be entertaining, and is likely to stick with the viewer much longer than your run-of-the-mill monster flick.

Product Details

Release Date:
Original Release:
Region Code:
[Wide Screen]
Sales rank:

Special Features

Deleted scenes; Director Bong Joon-Ho reflections; Commentary with director Bong Joon-Ho

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Song Kang-ho Gang-du
Byun Hee-bong Actor
Park Hae-il Actor
Bae Du-na Actor
Ko Asung Hyun-seo
Lee Dong-ho Actor
Lee Jae-eung Actor
Yun Je-mun Actor
Kim Roi-Ha Actor
Park Noh-shik Actor
Yim Pil-Sung Actor
Scott Wilson Actor

Technical Credits
Bong Joon-ho Director,Original Story,Screenwriter
Baek Cheol-hyeon Screenwriter
Kim Hyeong-gu Cinematographer
Kim Hyung-koo Cinematographer
John Cox Special Effects
Ha Joon-Won Screenwriter
Ha Jun-weon Screenwriter
Jo Neung-yeon Executive Producer
Orphanage Animator
Jo Sang-gyeong Costumes/Costume Designer
Ryu Seong-heui Production Designer
Lee Seung-cheol Sound/Sound Designer
Kim Sun-min Editor
Jeong Tae-weon Executive Producer
Choi Tae-yeong Sound/Sound Designer
Lee Byung Woo Score Composer
Kim Woo-taek Executive Producer
Choi Yong-bae Executive Producer

Scene Index

Disc #1 -- The Host
1. Empty Bottles [5:56]
2. After School Special [4:44]
3. Run For It [4:13]
4. Fighting Back [5:28]
5. Lost Her [4:05]
6. Creature Contact [4:53]
7. Held Captive [3:44]
8. Creature's Lair [5:09]
9. Secret Escape [4:06]
10. Heavy Security [3:56]
11. Rescue Mission [4:37]
12. Gaining Strength [3:22]
13. On the Prowl [6:14]
14. Something Lurking [4:34]
15. Wanted Family [4:12]
16. A Matter of Time [3:51]
17. Security Breach [3:20]
18. Making Contact [:05]
19. Scientific Study [3:40]
20. Getting Out [5:10]
21. Virus Threat [3:41]
22. Big Chance [4:24]
23. Fighting for Her [5:36]
24. Host Battle [5:24]


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The Host 3.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
SleepDreamWrite More than 1 year ago
Heard a lot about this. And it was interesting. Okay at times, but you kind of want to know what happens and you do care for the characters by the rest of the movie. Good movie though.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Before watching this film, I was excited by the reviews and buzz on this movie! I love monster movies, and thought this would be a cool movie to watch. Well.... It is the year 2000, on an American military post in Seoul, South Korea. An American and Korean doctor are pouring old Formaldehyde down the drain, which flows into the Han River. Forward 6 years later to the Han River. A Grandfather, Park Hee-bong, and his son, Gang-du, run a food stand by the river. Gang-du's daughter, Hyun-Seo, comes home, and they both watch Nam-Joo(Gang-du's sister) in the Seoul Olympics participating in archery. A few minutes later, a large, moving mass is observed hanging from the local bridge. It drops to the water and swims over to the shore, which now has a crowd watching the swimming mass. It swims past them, and then in a few moments, appears down the water's edge charging towards them knocking people over. In the next scenes, the director does an interesting job of using present motion and slow motion scenes to show the monster on the rampage. The music is also very good as the monster chases and runs people over. Gang-du, along with an American, attempt to combat the monster, which only provokes it more. In the ensuing chaos, the monster snatches Hyun-Seo, and jumps back into the river. It takes Hyun back to its lair, which becomes a dumping ground for all of its caught prey. The government claims the creature carries a deadly virus that will infect everyone! Gang-du is taken to a hospital, but later escapes with his family, when he receives a phone call from his daughter, who he thought was dead. The rest of the movie is the attempted rescue of Hyun-Seo by the Grandfather and his 3 children. The monster (to me) is an amphibious mutant tadpole. It is interesting how the director starts the monster acting rather tamely. It basically just runs over people or knocks them into the water. However, the more it chases, the more vicious it becomes, especially when it becomes entrapped with people inside a truck. And definitely as the movie progresses, the more hungry and ferocious it becomes. I liked the look of the monster, and the CGI department did a good job of its movement and speed. There are definite scenes of humor in the film. I thought some worked, but most of the time it took away from the building tension in the film. That was my major problem with the film, is it could not decide whether to be a serious movie along the lines of Jaws, or a horror-comedy along the lines of Lake Placid. That is just my take! The film really treats the Korean and American military as sneaky, untrustworthy, uncaring folk and I would throw in the hospital staff also under that category. The military just does not seem interested in ever catching or destroying this monster on the loose, until the very end. And then they do not care if they get rid of the monster, or anyone else standing around for that matter. The DVD does come with a few extras: * There is commentary during the film with Director Bong Joon-HO * Deleted Scenes (most did not add to the movie) * Deleted News Clips (which did add more background to the movie) * Director Bong Joon-Ho's Reflections : where he basically apologizes to everyone who worked on the movie, was in the movie, or was around the filming of the movie. This part is actually pretty humorous. I did enjoy the movie overall, but definite parts of the movie were too slow, and I felt it never could decide what it really wanted to be: a serious monster film or a horror-comedy!
Guest More than 1 year ago
First of all, the score is fantastic! The acting is superb. The graphics are mindboggling. This movie has everything thrill, family values, humor, monsters, and the Han River.... It still gives me nightmares, and I can't wait til it is released on DVD.
Guest More than 1 year ago
THE HOST has one thing going for it, an agile, almost logical, monster... and that's it. When it's on screen, when it's moving, when it's putting the bite on people or snatching the same people up and storing them in its own version of a CRISPER drawer, there is a lot to admire in this import. The monster's first full on screen appearence is a marvel to behold, not only because it takes place during daylight hours (very rare for these types of films), not only because it takes place within a large crowd of people, but everyone and everything involved moves in a logical fashion. From the frist sighting to final snatch and splash, it all looks like something that could very well happen. Wonderfully done. As for the rest... get a pen, get a pad of paper and be prepared to take notes because little next to nothing makes any kind of sense. The central players in THE HOST is a family seemingly put together from a series of other unproduced films. There's the father who looks like a grandfather, two sons - one, a pudgy, bulky, slow witted father himself, the other a miracle of the Korean education and political system. He's a lawyer in training, a corporate raider, a student, a eco/bio protester who's sister just happens to be a Olympic level athelete in the field of archery (taking the Bronze at the beginning of the film). It's almost like a skewed version of the FANTASTIC FOUR, everyone seems to have some kind odd "gift" that sets them apart from the rest. There is also the daughter of the pudgy, bulky slow witted father who seemes to have gotten all her looks and good sense from her mother - which, for a film like this is a good thing. It's her smarts that help her to survive and a mother's strength that allows her to make the ultimate sacrifice. There's an unhappy ending here in THE HOST, but you'll have a hard time either understanding it, or feeling bad about it, because the rest of the film is mired in protest... against the government, against corporations, against posions, against any and everything it can lay its hands on. THE HOST is one busy film. Actually, it's more like six films running at once and that's its main flaw, it doesn't know what it wants to say and instead of putting its focus squarely on a family in peril and a monster on the loose, it tries too hard to sum up Korea's political, social and corporate strife. It's just too much of everything... and because of that THE HOST will go down as a missed oppurtunity to redefine the genre. But, for the short time the monster is the star of the picture, it works... but not enough to earn a place on your shelf.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This movie blew my out of my seat when I saw it at the New York Film Festival. It's smart, witty and best of all, NOT CHEESY! Highly recommended.