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The Host (English subtitled)
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  • Outstanding - A Monster Epic The Way It Should Be
    One of the best monster movies ever made - up there with the likes of King Kong - Extended Cut (Three-Disc Deluxe Edition) - "The Host" is the kind of movie that reminds you why you love movies so much in the first place. Successfully combining so many of the elements that make filmdom great - an engaging story, tremendous visuals, memorable characters, great thrills and horror, even a surprisingly large dose of humor - this is one for the ages, one that's still going to be vital viewing twenty or fifty years from now.

    In Seoul, South Korea, the careless disposal of chemicals from a military base years ago - allegedy harmful-but-common substances like formeldahyde, but you have to wonder if that's really all it was - ends up creating catastrophic consequences in the modern day. At a busy stretch of coast along the Han River, populated by picnic spots, bustling foodstands and the like, a crowd gathers, abuzz over a strange sight before them: something black, suspended from a large bridge, something that looks alive. It's not really a good place to gather though, for the strange thing doesn't plan on staying immobile in its nook in the bridge's understructure.

    What starts out seeming like a very charming, slice-of-life/comedy movie, takes on a much more serious tone with the monster's first strike. The main (human) characters of the movie are all of one family. A 13 year-old girl is one of the first victims in the attack - seemingly. But when her devastated father receives a cellphone call from his still-alive child, nobody in authority believes his theory: that the monster - which seemingly ate the girl - swallows its 'prey' into some kind of non-digestive department, then returns home and deposits them in its lair. The little girl is really the one link holding her family together; some of the family members are estranged from one another, but they all love the child, and all make the bold move of attempting to track her down as a group, themselves becoming fugitives from the authorities in the process. Meanwhile, there are different groups of authorities - both Korean and international - with their own ideas on how to handle the situation, and there are some possible implications in there, not limited to the idea that some parties are more interested in hiding their own negligence than anything else.

    Electrifying, heart-stirring and plausibly done, "The Host" succeeds on all counts. If you haven't yet come into the world of Asian movies, this is a great place to start (and if this Is your first one, you've got a lot of other treats waitin for you!) I'd recommend viewing this in the subtitled format, the way I saw it. There's also an English-dubbed option on the disc, but I've heard that it's not a very good dub job. Either way you watch it though, this really a major must-see, and one of the best movies of the year....more info
  • oop's not again
    THIS movie was so bad i sold my dvd for 2 bucks, and i told the buyer to burn it. It like watching a monster movie back in the 1960's. sucks big time...more info
  • Potential, Potential, Potential!
    Just finished watching this, very disappointing. It comes out of the gate with a HUGE bang. The first 45 minutes or so grab you and dont let go with a cool new monster, interesting characters, and alot of comedy, and alot of intertwined plot elements.

    It ultimately degenerated into one of the more disappointing films that I have seen recently. There are story arcs that end up being unresolved, or completely abandoned altogether(the virus/agent yellow/lobotomy/american army, why were these elements even in the movie, they added nothing to the movie but a longer running time). Characters who have no satisfying conclusion, bad translation of the korean. Sometimes the translation is so bad that the scene made no sense whatsoever.

    And the monster itself is never really fleshed out in the way it could have been. Its origin is also one of the most vague scenes in history.

    They seemed to have a large budget, and there are so many improvements that could have been made to the script to make it better. Ultimately, it seemed to just be laziness that ruined this movie. If they had invited in a sci-fi writer in to flesh out the script, this movie couold have been good.

    And also, the ending is terribly anti-climactic.

    Too bad, because based on the first 45 minutes of this movie, this thing had potential, potential, potential. On par with Jaws? I wish it were....more info
  • Do Not Watch the Dubbed Version
    Really, do not watch the dubbed version of this movie. If you're watching that then you are not watching the same movie. I have a feeling that nearly all of the negative reviews are due to the atrocious dubbing this film received.

    If you're not willing to watch the subtitled version, then I suggest you avoid the film, because it will be an awful experience. I just watched a clip of it on YouTube and I was cringing!

    The dubbing is an insult to the original cast and crew of this film. Please. Please. Please. Do not watch the dubbed version.
    ...more info
  • Grossly over-rated bore!
    Except for the CGI effects, this was no better than one of those 3rd rate Godzilla sequels. Don't waste your time or money! Dialog? Laughable! Idiot plot? You bet. Comparisons to true classic monster/horror/sci-fi movies? Laughable! There was more tension in final installment of American Idol than there was in this "fish story." The holes in the plot are too numerous to mention! If you must see it, rent it from Net Flix but I warn you...The Host is one of the lamest sci-fi/horror movies made in the last quarter century! ...more info
  • One for the critics, not the punters
    Western critics went ape for this Korean movie when it was released. Therefore, we can provide the following tips to those who aspire to make a critically-acclaimed monster movie:

    1. Sideline the actual monster, which incidentally looks pretty good in Host (at least from a distance) in favour of a nasty, paranoid government-is-after-us thriller plot.
    2. Have as central protagonists a bizarre and unsympathetically idiotic family who are poorly characterised and resemble hackneyed archetypes.
    3. Make sure everybody other than the protagonists is either actively despicable or callously uncaring.
    4. Include an excessive amount of, often embarrassingly unsuccessful, slapstick comedy sequences.
    5. Lace the film with absurd anti-American themes and subplots.

    It's also probably better that you don't have too much in the way of narrative structure or suspense--that would be all too "Hollywood".

    For those who prefer their monster films a little more engaging and a little less aggressively middle-brow, I would recommend steering clear of this entirely. Get the fallible, but at least fun, Cloverfield instead.
    ...more info
  • Don't watch the dubbed version...
    I purchased this movie and I was surprised that I actually liked it, I just heard awful things about it. First I watched the movie in its original form with subtitles, I laughed and was in suspense at certain parts.. Then I decided to watch the dubbed version afterwards, it totally ruined the movie.. This movie already has a campy feel, with overacting-- but when you have english dubbs with 5x more very bad overacting-- it totally takes away from the movie.. So just watch the subtitle version!!! Yes the father was an annoying character, he was a slacker who only made things worse. But towards the end he finally became a man, and was trying to "save the day", which made his character watchable.. Just rent it and judge for yourself.. But I say if you really enjoyed slither, then most likely you will enjoy this too.. ...more info
  • how do you say "really sucks" in Korean?
    This was a total waste of two hours. The only reason I watched the whole thing was to see if anyone else died in this horrible sorry excuse for a horror flick. Another reviewer mentioned that this was supposed to be a satirical spoof of other stupid monster movies. I think not. Its just really bad. The acting was so over the top and/or amateurish that I had to laugh. Laughing my arse off at times. Then I got angry because it portrayed Koreans as a bunch of melodramatic buffoons. This was beyond campy and cheesy. I would rather watch Godzookie vs Mothra. ...more info
  • A Must Have.
    One of the best looking Bluray titles so far, and an incredible movie to match....more info
  • Cool Monster, Silly People, Bridges and Trailers
    No, that's not me trying to be sublime (NFW). The title is simply my very quick assessment of "The Host". If you've already seen this film, you probably were nodding your head when you read my title (with a little luck, you giggled or snickered). If you have not viewed this film before then you probably thought I was trying to be sublime. Sorry about that. I suppose the polite thing to do would be to explain;

    The monster is very interesting and well executed. It is seamlessly integrated into the live action and very convincing visually. Unlike many monster films, "The Host" does not have a monster theme song or warning; it usually appears when things are quiet. In fact, the director did a good job of "zoning-out" the viewer when the monster appears. Like in real life, when in a state of astonished shock, time slows down and everything gets numbingly quiet until we zone-in again. On the downside, I thought that an aquatic mutation would not be quite as intelligent as this beast and it was just a little too indestructible for most of the film. However, the overall execution was very effective.

    First of all, let me state that I am an American. I've never been to Korea nor am I an expert on Korean culture (I know very little). So I can't really judge how typical these characters were. That said, most of them were just a little overblown and hammy. There was no attempt at camp, its all played pretty straight so this was a problem. Good performances to lookout for are the little school girl whom I enjoyed quite a bit, and her Grandfather who at least seamed genuine. Most of the other main subjects were sort of caricatures rather than characters. The American characters were scripted and acted just horribly and the obvious villains (even more so than the monster who is played as more of a consequence of the evil Americans than an evil unto itself). There is one American hero type but he's not very effective. I must admit enjoying the family dynamics of the featured characters even if I didn't like them and despite a little too much of them.

    Again, I know nothing of life around Seoul, Korea. I have to assume there are lots of bridges and trailers based on this film. It was definitely an interesting backdrop for a monster movie; particularly the bridges. The bridges were used mostly as artistic graphic elements; employing triangulation, perspective and geometry to create visually stunning imagery. I have to give credit for top notch cinematography in this film. It was a visual treat and actually above the story and characters deployed. The trailers were effective in that they provided very little sense of security, being what they are. The bridges get 5 starts, the trailers 3.

    -I bought the 2 disc set. I have yet to watch disc 2. However, disc one had quite a few extras itself including a bunch of deleted scenes. The picture and sound were good So this is a pretty good value.

    -ADD IT ALL UP...
    ... and you have a strange mix of brilliant visual FX, beautiful cinematography, uneven acting and a slightly bloated story. The idea of formaldehyde mutating aquatic life to such a degree is something you will need to overlook to enjoy this film(I did immediately) . You also better be ready to see Americans stereotyped as despicable opportunists without a thought for the consequences of their actions. I thought it was more comical than offensive. I never found this film too scary or gory; it's more of a drama. It has some seriously slow spots and somewhat unnecessary character development and a rather heavy handed political statement (I think it was the Directors attempt at being sublime). I found the monster scenes to be enthralling and entertaining and the overall visuals worthy of a better script. I thought it was ok. I definitely recommend "The Host" as a rental at least.
    ...more info
  • A breath of fresh air in the giant monster genre!
    Looking over the 42 (at last count) reviews for The Host, I'm struck by the vast disparity, from five-star reviews like mine to 1-star-because-I-couldn't-give-it-any-fewer opinions. What can I say? Tastes differ...WILDLY.

    I enjoyed every minute of The Host, even (I might say, "especially") the parts without the monster. I loved the characters and the mixture of humor and horror. It was right up my alley!

    I agree with the sentiment to skip the overdubbing and go with the subtitled version. But then, that's almost always my recommendation with foreign films, so there's another bias for you.

    The opening sequence seems grafted on, as if someone somewhere along the line thought it essential to insert an American character into a film that doesn't need one, like they did with Raymond Burr in the original Godzilla. But that's a minor quibble that doesn't cost The Host a single star in my opinion.

    If you're looking for a gorefest, The Host isn't it. But it also isn't a kids' film! It's too intense, especially in regards to the trauma suffered by youngest member of the family. (No spoilers...enough said about that.) The ending was downright touching.

    I saw the film in the theater and had a rollicking good time, and I can't wait to put the DVD in my permanent collection!...more info
  • Something Fishy This Way Comes
    Atypically for the genre, this riveting monster romp has both a heart and a mind. It delves unusually deeply into the characters of the dysfunctional family around which the story revolves, and, although they can be very irritating, we get to know them well enough to care about what happens to them. There's a wonderfully cynical view of the authorities running all the way through and it's really quite funny at times, although, as I've already said, the eccentricities of the family do become a little trying. But the real star is the monster which is a marvellous example of top-notch CGI, particularly with regard to the way it moves. It swings gracefully between bridge supports in glorious simian fashion and lopes along the ground with cumbersome elegance in a fine example of truly impressive animation. I even felt sorry for it at the end, so lifelike is it.

    The Host is a creative, intelligent, and idiosyncratic monster horror that should delight not only fans of the genre but all true cineasts....more info
  • Nicely done but lightyears away from great. Overhyped too.
    I have no idea why this film is being compared to ALIEN or JAWS. It is offensively inferior.

    Basically, there is a Korean family. Then there is this monster who captures the little girl. Family goes after the monster. Monster keeps the girl in its sewer hideout full of other victim's bones. Family finds the monster. Monster is attracted to the city where there's a trap. Monster gets killed.

    The effects are nicely done and the crowd scenes where the monster runs at large and eats people are very well staged (and must have been expensive to shoot). That explains why there are only two of those big scenes in the entire film.

    The rest of the film is just the family looking for the monster and little girl hiding from the monster.

    The film lacks more spectacle (although the little it has is very well done).

    And the acting is very strange. It is very histrionic... like if everybody were in a Masked Rider or Ultraman episode. In a way, it looked like those old Japanese TV shows... but made with CGI.

    I got very disappointed after all the hype.
    I am sure it worked a lot better with Asian audiences who are more in tune with many elements... like the histrionic acting, some characters, the fact that one of the protagonists is an Olympic bow and arrow winner (a big sport in Korea)... and many other things.

    Rent. Don't buy. ...more info
  • Good movie
    A did notice some minor playback issues but still enjoyed the movie. Great Pic and sound....more info
  • something in the water, something under the bridge... a fun monster movie
    THE HOST (original Korean title GWOEMUL) is a sneakily good film which was a hit in Cannes. Be aware that it contains an environmental message that isn't exactly subliminal and that, also, it shows the U.S. in a very dim light. Nevertheless, I easily got past all that and was soon very immersed in the movie. I really don't know how this film got past my movie radar, but thank goodness it did. I went into this not knowing much about it other than it was ostensibly a creature feature. But it's much more than that. THE HOST manages to integrate a strong family theme, an off the wall sense of fun, and an unpredictable, heartbreaking storyline which kept me on the edge of my seat. I truly did not know what would happen next, and that's a very good thing. As a bonus, this movie is also pretty funny.

    Some plot SPOILERS.

    It starts out in a U.S. Army Base morgue in Korea when an American lab technician has his lackey dump formaldehyde down the laboratory drains even though he knows that the toxic stuff will eventually flow into the Han River. Some years later, frequenters on the banks of the Han River witness a grotesque monstrosity shockingly emerge from the river and begin an all out rampage. Survivors of the attack are summarily rounded up by the government which, fearing a creature-initiated virus, then institutes a quarantine and hastily begins conducting tests on the parties involved.

    One particularly contentious family is very much involved in the doings. Held under quarantine, they are grieving the death of a 13-year-old girl named Hyum-seo, who was seen being carried away by the monster. Her father, the dim-witted Gang-du, receives a call on a cell from someone claiming to be Hyum-seo and that she's alive but being held captive in a hole under a bridge. Gang-du and his kin break away from quarantine and flee into the sewer system and begin their search for Hyum-seo.

    Meanwhile, time is running out for Hyum-seo. Lacking food and drink and imprisoned in a deep chasm, she knows that her chances are bleak as she now awaits her turn to become crunchy snacks for the creature. A further burden is laid on her shoulders when another survivor, this time a little boy, appears. At last, with hope dwindling faster and faster, she seizes one opportunity for escape.


    Absolutely, the film's star attraction is the beastie itself. But THE HOST focuses more on the quarrelling family members than on the monster, and this works to the film's advantage as we get the chance to know the characters and invest in what happens to them. The dysfunction in this family is never more strongly portrayed than in an early scene where they remain hilariously combative even as they mourn the supposed death of young Hyum-seo. Not to get all On-A-Very-Special-Blossom, but this film goes on to underline the power of kinship and how familial loyalties can overcome personal differences.

    The monster is part squid, part tadpole, and part Whatdaf--k!!. The thing shows up only sporadically, which serves to heighten the suspense and enhance its effectiveness. Its debut appearance is a freakin' doozy and quite surreal, done in broad daylight with its mangling and ravaging taking place out in the open. Usually, the monster is so huge that there's a sort of disconnect, what with the size differential between monster and man rendering man insignificant and ant-tiny. But this creature is only several sizes larger than a person, and so somehow there's more punch to its attacks and we get unobstructed views of various victims getting, well, pretty effed up. The creature, when it does get screen time, gallumps prodigiously, lending a convincing weight and presence. There's a fluid grace and ease in how it navigates the various bridge undercarriages. There's a sleek dexterity in how it scales walls. Me, I'm rendered pretty darn impressed. So, a well done to the CG work.

    THE HOST sows a lot of seeds: it subverts the monster horror genre and remains mostly unpredictable. Every so often it'll unleash moments of wicked slapstick humor and, later on, sober us up with scenes of poignancy. Oh, yes, it also calls out the U.S. military (Agent Yellow? I could see it). The scenes with the monster are spectacular. When watching THE HOST, prep yourself to be unsettled but then perhaps invigorated. You may even end up feeling sad. Be that as it may, THE HOST earns five formaldehyde-polluted stars from me....more info
    The Host is not the best monster movie ever made. It offers good times, but it really is a mixed bag film. Unfortunately I'd have to disagree with some of the critical acclaim on the box because this film is not at par with Jaws, and it certainly isn't scary. It is worth a look, but don't expect the greatest monster movie you'll ever see.
    WHAT IT'S ABOUT: The story begins in a morgue where two morticians are getting rid of dangerous chemicals by pouring them down the sink, where the contents went into the Han River. It takes the B-movie approach by having a dangerous creature morph into an abomination because of these chemicals. Then one day onlookers stare at a strange creature that is holding onto the bridge. It then jumps into the river, swims to shore, and then begins attacking people on the shore and eating them. When a girl gets taken by the monster, her family is determined to find her and kill the creature that the government claims the host of some kind of mysterious virus.
    MUSIC: The score is excellent and superbly crafted, one of the best parts of the movie.
    STORY: The story is uneven and riddled with holes and displays an overall sloppy presentation (Not to mention the awful ending). The lowest point of the entire film. Plus, there are some parts you can't take seriously because they are cheesy. This film's comedic humor manages to save some parts of the story but feel out of place.
    ENTERTAINMENT: It all depends on how much like monster movies, you can like and you can hate it. It all depends on your preferences of films. I found it to be good, but flawed because of the storyline. This film will not scare you.
    OVERALL: It's good, but flawed because of a sloppy story. But the great music, atmosphere, certain creature scenes, and a few extras keep things moving.
    THE GOOD: Cool monster, great music, cool scenes, funny humor.
    THE BAD: Sloppy story, some cheesy scenes, don't ever watch this in the English language; it's painful put on Korean and insert English subtitles....more info
  • Good flick
    Overall I liked this movie. It was different from the normal monster movies that you see. Liked the part where they were eating and having to sleep, made it seem more real than most of the other films that are made.
    ...more info
  • Horrible, but intresting monster
    When i bought this movie some guy had asked me if i was buying it for entertainment or just because. I told him i was hoping for a good monster movie; and boy was i wrong. I still haven't even watched the entire thing! It was so bad i actually turned it off before it was over(and i hardly ever do that.) The dubbing was worse than some of the old godzilla movies, the acting was phenomanally bad, the story was run of the mill, and the list goes on some more. The only thing i found somewhat good was the creature. The cgi wasn't the greatest, but it was alright. The way it traveled was actually quite creative, but it was still somewhat unimaginative. I can't believe they would say it's on a par with jaws; its not even close. This movie will most certainly NOT be a classic.
    To sum it up, if your looking for a bad horror film with a different kind of monster, this will probaly satisfy.
    I will also add that the prequel and i will be far away from eachother at all times when it comes out....more info
    ... Or I wouldn't have anything good to say about this movie which seemed to me to be half way between foolish and moronic, with writing that was between illogical and inept, acting that was between somnambulistic and hysterical. Entertaining half way between root canal and terminal constipation. (I am sooo mad at m'self for 'just taking a chance'.)...more info
  • LIke Jaws or Alien? Give me a break ...
    I was eager to see this after reading several reviews that raved how it was similar to Jaws and Alien. What a major disappointment. How anyone could even begin to compare this 2+ hour snooze fest to those movies is just amazing to me. Yes I get that the director was trying to be satirical and campy. It did not work for me. It was not scary. There was almost no suspense. And ... I did not think it was funny either....more info
  • Very cool monster movie!
    Save all the pompus, big vocabulary, I'm a critic reviews. If you like monster movies with awesome spfx then see The Host! If not then go watch the 56th remake of Pride and Predjudice. HD makes it look even better! We need more giant monster movies!!! ...more info
  • Worst use of 99 cents ever
    If you like bad 1980 style monster flicks, go for it. Glad I fell asleep during it. Best part was when my wife woke me up to turn it off....more info
  • I wouldn't want this "host" at my party
    This had to be one of the worst movies I've ever watched. Bad dubbing,bad acting,stupid story and a silly monster. It was so dumb I skipped to the end just to see how the monster was destroyed. That too was ridiculous.
    ...more info
  • Horrible Just Horrible
    Words cannot discribe just how terrible this movie is. This has got to be one of the worst films I have sudjected myself to. Time is to precious and one can never get it back once it is gone so please don't waste your time on this idiocy....more info
    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....more info
  • Bad, In Any Language
    I gave up on this picture long before the final credits rolled. It was just simply....... terrible....more info
  • Uneven Movie, Yet Enjoyable
    This movie started out great and then quickly fell apart on me. The first real monster scene was incredible. Everyone is standing around looking at this thing on a bridge... and it was pretty freaky. The monster looked great from far away as it dangled off the bridge and the next scene when we actually see the monster attack was awesome! After that it was pretty much downhill. It turned into a movie about the family, all of who were annoying except for the main character who was looking for his daughter. I liked him, but the rest of the family were lame. This movie tried too hard to be funny and to make a social commentary, but it didn't try hard enough to be scary. It wasn't scary at all after the first 30 minutes. The special effects seemed to get worse as the minutes ticked away and there were a few scenes of the monster where it looked so silly and fake that it was disappointing. However there were other scenes of the monster where it looked very cool and ultra creepy. This movie suffers from being uneven and scattered. I can't figure out in my head how to classify this movie... Was it a monster movie? Was it an action movie? Was it a black comedy? Was it a pandemic movie? I guess the answer is that it is all of these things to a certain point, but for my money a monster movie should be about a monster if you want a classic on your hands. This isn't a classic, but it is worth watching. ...more info