The Host is a South Korean Horror Film that came out in 2006. The film saw its premiere at the prestigious Cannes Film Festival in 2006 before it was released theatrically in Korea. The film has won many awards and received numerous award nominations. Although the film has received all this acclaim, it only received a limited US release and many Horror Fans have paid the film little attention.
The Host opens with a doctor telling his lab assistant that he hates dust. He prefers a clean working area and after wiping the dust off the bottle of formaldehyde, orders the liquid be poured down the sink. The doctor is warned that the sink leads out to the Han River, but the doctor does not care about procedure or the river. The viewer gets to see the assistant, now wearing a mask, dump a bottle of formaldehyde down the drain. As the camera pans, we see that there are over a hundred empty bottles with more yet to empty.
The film then does some small time jumps to a more modern day Seoul, Korea. We are introduced to a rather dysfunctional family. It’s not long after this that we find the people along the bank of the river enjoying their day, when they notice something hanging from the bridge. As the watchers start throwing food out at the shape, the creature shows it true self and begins a run thru the crowds crushing and devouring people as it goes. Sadly, for one family, it takes their young girl with it as it leaves.
The movie follows the exploits of the family of Hyun-Seo as they try to find their little girl and get her back. The film is full of concepts that are not often seen in many horror films today. The film does an amazing job at investigating the family dynamic and the way they interact and think of each other. The father does his best to get his oldest children to see their slow-witted brother as a man.
The story takes off as we see the civil police agencies and South Korean government try to deal with the creature. It is decided by the United Nations that they are unable to contain the situation and even worse, the creature maybe carrying a virus.
The Host shows us that Horror can come not just from a creature, but from the feelings we may carry for others, and our environment. We watch as this family tries to save their little girl and at the same time has disconnection and tragedy hit them through their trials. The film has moments of shock not just from a sudden appearance of the creature but events that happen when the creature is not involved.
There is one big question that begins to show itself as you watch the film. Who is the real monster?