The Host (2006)

While I am totally bummed that I didn't get to see a giant monster wreck the shit out of Seoul Godzilla style, I did end up enjoying this film. Unfortunately, I think that a lot of it is lost on someone who has never lived in Korea, particularly some of the more quirky aspects. 

First of all, I thought that it was funny. I am surprised by this. Korean humor is generally not even mildly entertaining and relies heavily on physical comedy, overacting, worn out ideas, and strangely, men in drag. Yes, the humor was for the most part physical but it was done in a way that wasn't too over the top or goofy. One of my favorite ten second of the movie was when the family was sitting around in their food stand waiting for their ramen noodles to cook. If you have spent 24 hours in Korea, you totally know the feeling. It's frustrating. Anyway, it came at just the right time and was so effective at breaking up the tension a bit that I was really shocked at how subtly they managed to pull that off. 

A scene that I found a bit jarring, and I think that many people will agree, was the scene where the family was writhing on the floor crying at the girl's memorial. I understand where it comes from though. That's just how Korean drama's are. They are the most melodramatic and over the top shows that I have ever seen. I think that ultimately the film makers were trying to playfully poke fun at Korean dramas with that scene. And really, the fight that broke out was awesome. 

There were a lot of Korean stereotypes in the film. Namely, the drunk uncle. In this country, alcoholism isn't a disease, it's a way of life. The stuff in the green bottles, Soju, is cheaper than water and twice as popular. In fact Jinro Soju is the number one selling brand of alcohol in the world. Keep in mind that there are roughly 45,000,000 people in Korea (including babies and children) and you may get an idea of how much people drink. It was endlessly entertaining to me that they fought the monster with Soju. 

I really did enjoy the family dynamic in the film and it thought that it was a somewhat unique take on a traditional monster film. I also appreciated that at no point, did they shy away from showing the monster. Was it the best CGI I've ever seen? Heck no! But it was good enough and totally entertaining. 

For the past six months I have been hearing about how much I need to see this film from a bunch of twelve year olds. I have to say that I'm not disappointed. Yeah, it's not the greatest horror film ever made (as I have heard this claim many times) but I love a good campy monster movie and The Host certainly delivered.