Welcome back to Thriller Thurdays! Today we’ll be taking a look at the monster movie, The Host.
As I mentioned, this film is a monster movie, which also happen to among my favourite genres of horror, but it also contains political commentary on the implications of the American military presence in South Korea. If that sounds a little boring to you, no fear! This commentary is pretty much only in the background of the film all the way through, and it does add an extra dimension to the plot line.
The film begins with an American military pathologist commanding his reluctant Korean assistant to violate protocol by dumping over 200 bottles of formaldehyde down the drain instead of disposing of them properly. This waste ends up in the Han River, and over the next few years, there are sightings of a strange amphibious creature in the water ways.
Six years later, Gang-du (Song Kang-ho) is a seemingly dim-witted man who runs a small snack-bar with his father, Hee-bong (Byeon Hee-bong). Also with him is his brother and sister; Nam-joo (Bae Doona) and Nam-il (Park Hae-il), as well as his daughter, Hyun-seo (Ko Ah-seong).
One day while Gang-du is delivering food to some customers, he sees people crowded along the Han River. Together they witness a huge creature hanging from a bride, which then dives into the water. At first, it seems as though the creature has swum away, which leads to the public trying to bait it back with food. But very quickly the creature rises out of the river and starts to wreak havoc. Gang-du and an American man attempt to kill the creature with a metal pole but the American is killed before they can succeed. Gang-du starts to escape, but quickly realises that his daughter isn’t with him, and he turns around in time to see the creature snatch Hyun-seo and dive back into the river.
With the threat of the creature and the deadly virus it is hosting looming, Gang-du goes in search for his daughter who he is convinced has survived. He buys weapons and a map of the sewers, and heads into the unknown.
I think this film has many characteristics of which makes Korean horror so amazing; such as the unique bleakness of the protagonists anguish being the focus of most scenes, and the unrelenting gore and terror that laces its way throughout the plotline.
Again, this is probably not the film for you if you’re squeamish, but I recommend it if you enjoy monster films!