The Host – Film Review

After enjoying the film Okja we decided to watch another South Korean film by the same director, Joon-ho Bong. In 2006 he directed The Host which is about a monster fish that walks on land and terrorises and eats humans. The fish appears after some scientists pour toxic chemicals into the River Han.

Joon-ho Bong captures moments of suspense so well. At the beginning there’s a scene where the dad loses contact with his daughter’s hand as they run from the monster and when he grabs it again he accidentally grabs the wrong person’s hand. It all happens in slow motion but you know that the daughter is left behind and that the monster will take her. Then towards the end there’s another scene where the girl is trapped in the monster’s lair and tries to escape when she thinks the creature is sleeping only he isn’t sleeping. There’s a terrifying 20 seconds that feels like several minutes.

Most of the film is about watching the girl’s incompetent family try to rescue her. The family is thwarted at every turn by the authorities who are even more incompetent but also corrupt and, frankly, more terrifying than the monster itself.

Some parts were a bit unbelievable; for instance, the girl was able to survive for ages in the monster’s lair by hiding in a small side tunnel. Why didn’t the monster just grab her with his tail? But as Ben pointed out it’s probably pointless to argue that a scene is unbelievable in a film about a man-eating fish that runs on land.

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