The Host (2006)

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Rating: 4.8 stars from 8 ratings

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  •  (3.5 out of 5 stars)

Director Bong Joon-ho's The Host (2006) was his breakthrough movie, becoming the highest-grossing South Korean film at the time. It's no conventional monster movie though, containing many imaginative oddities that Bong Joon-ho has become known for. His talent for creating tension and directing action is immediately apparent in the opening monster attack that emerges from the Han River. Song Kang-ho plays the lead role of the father whose daughter Hyun-seo (Go Ah-sung) has been kidnapped by the monster. The girl's family proceeds on a feature-length search for her in the sewers of the city. Along with the monster comes a supposed virus outbreak, and The Host is particularly interesting to watch in the aftermath of the COVID-19 global pandemic. At times it's hard to say whether the monster or the government is doing more harm, as the authorities deploy draconian measures to control the virus outbreak and defeat the monster. While the direction is strong throughout, the plot loses focus in the middle and the search for Hyun-seo takes too long. Yet you can still see the puzzle pieces of director Bong's mind coming together forming many of his skills relating to social satire, dark comedy, tension-building, and genre-bending. All of these skills and more would come together in his masterpiece Parasite (2019).

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