Release Date: 27 July 2006
Directed by: Bong Joon Ho
Country: South Korea
This thriller is about a monster found in the Han River, Korea which decides to prey on humans. The story centers around the Park family who run a small business near the Han River.
What I really like about the main characters in this movie is that they are your normal everyday civilians with regular problems; none of them display any heroic qualities or look like your conventional hero.
It was also interesting to see that the monster in this film had some form of intelligence, pretending to be asleep to lure Hyun Seo and Se Joo out of their hiding place. The monster in The Host is unlike the monsters in Hollywood films such as Jaws, in which the shark relies mostly on brute strength, its size and tenacity.
This film seemed to be a political satire directed at America. This is a recurring theme that happens throughout the film. It appears as though the film is criticizing the U.S. on how they often seek to “help” a country by spreading their democratic and capitalistic ideologies, and using their army to meddle with foreign affairs, but end up causing more harm than the good that they intend.
At the beginning of the film, an American Scientist orders his Korean assistant to dispose of the chemical through the drain, unconcern of the environmental consequences it might bring the country and its people.
In the movie, the Americans were the ones who spread news that the creature carried a virus when in fact, they wanted to hide the origins of the monster.
Later on in the film, the government solution to kill the creature is through a chemical named “Agent Yellow” which also seemed like another jab at the U.S. for the Vietnam War. During the war, the Americans used a chemical named “Agent Orange” to destroy bushes trees and vegetation with the intention to quell the guerrilla. However, Agent Orange had such disastrous side effects that it still afflicts the country today. The chemical damaged the environment and mutated the genes of individuals who were exposed to the chemicals resulting in deformities in their offspring.
Overall, I found the film to be pretty intense and exciting (but a little scary). The special effect and acting was really good. I will definitely watch more South Korean films in the near future.