To say that I was completely taken back by "The Host" is easy for me to say. Calling it one of the best monster films ever might actually be an understatement of sorts. "The Host" is badass from beginning to end. It combines so many random elements together, that it feels at any time it could lose control of its bearings and everything will fall apart. It doesn't. And its this odd combination of elements and styles that makes "The Host" a completely unique and visceral film experience.
Park Gang-Du is your average slacker young man. He lives with his father and helps him run a food stand on the Han River (poorly I might add) and fails to compare to his two siblings accomplishments. His own daughter (her mother is never in the picture) looks at him as a fool and an embarrassment. When a mutant fish monster, yes you read that right, arises from the Han River to upstart a panic in the country, suddenly Park Gang-Du is in the middle of it. His daughter is taken by the creature for a later snack and the government believes that this creature is a host to a new virus and that Gang-Du and his family are now infected. Its a race against time and bureaucratic red tape for Gang-Du to save his daughter from this creature of unearthly creature.
As was mentioned in the introduction, "The Host" is one of the oddest combination of film styles I have ever had pleasure to view. Combining the obvious Monster based Horror platform with dramatic family issues, dark humor galore, and a solid socio-political satire and criticism piece and that's what you will find in "The Host". Somehow and in some random way though, director Bong Joon-Ho, the script writers, and cast make this film work in almost all the perfect balances. It's impressive to say the least.
Although the film is blessed with a solid cast and a brilliant artistic director that has a vision for the balance that this film needed, our fish monster might be one of the best parts of the film. It exemplifies all of this elements that make this film great, by being the elephant in the room for the family drama, by being the Horrific monster it is, by being created by man's own foolish acts, and by being completely created in a tongue in cheek manor (it does have random fish tails that stick out of its back and flings itself from bridge scaffolding like a gymnast). This is a perfect creature for this film and one of the more memorable monsters in the last few decades.
"The Host" is just one massive fun and unique experience that layers plenty of thought provoking details into the mix for deeper viewing pleasure. It just strikes so many great moments and ideas that its hard not to admire it for its artistic value all the while as you enjoy a fine monster flick. Now if that's not something to love, then I'm not sure what is.
Written By Matt Reifschneider