ABC Film Challenge – World Cinema – H – The Host (2006) Movie Review

Director: Bong Joon Ho

Writer: Bong Joon Ho, Won-Jun Ha, Chul-hyun Baek (Screenplay)

Starring: Kang-ho Song, Hee-Bong Byun, Hae-il Park, Doona Bae, Ko Asung, Dal-su Oh, Jae-eung Lee

Plot: A monster emerges from Seoul’s Han River and begins attacking people. One victim’s loving family does what it can to rescue her from its clutches.

Tagline – It is Lurking Behind You

Runtime: 2 Hours

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Excellent Creature Feature

Story: The Host starts as we meet the family Hie-bong (Byun) who runs a snack hut with his immature son Gang-Doo (Song) with his granddaughter Hyun-seo (Asung) staying with them, watching Nam-Joo (Bae) perform in competitive archery. That day, a busy day on the Han River, a monster appears and starts attacking people, causing chaos and taking Hyun-seo with it to the depths.

Believing Hyun-seo to be dead, the family is joined by Nam-il (Park) as they go through the mourning process as the government look to contain the problem, only for it to become clear that Hyun-seo is still alive calling her father, which sees the family look to escape the quarantine to save their youngest member.

Thoughts on The Host

Characters – Gang-Doo is the immature father that often sleeps on the job for the family business, he is on sight when the first attack happens, losing grip of his daughter moments before the creature takes her. He does have a tragic story for why he is how he is, he will do anything to try and save his daughter, even if that means he must suffer more heartache. Hie-bong is the father of the family, he runs the business, while keeping Gang-Doo in a safe place. He leads the planned rescue of his granddaughter. Nam-il is the alcoholic member of the family who tries to put the blame on Gang-Doo and is willing to help find his niece. Nam-Joo is the sporting member of the family, she just misses out on a gold medal and will use her talent to fight back. Hyun-seo is the daughter that gets taken, thought to be dead, she survives in the lair of the creature, trying to find a way to communicate with the outside world.

PerformancesKang-ho Song is fantastic as the helpless father doing everything he can to get to his daughter, while the rest of the cast get their strong moments, he shines above everybody else with ease through the film.

StoryThe story follows a monster attack near the Han River in Seoul, where the youngest member of a family is taken, forcing the rest to escape the quarantine they were placed in, in an attempt to save her. We do get a very clear message about pollution with this film, which is important to know about going in, you do learn this from the opening scene, as this creates the creature. We focus mostly on how family will come together to try and save one another, which shows in the emotional arcs the characters must go through during the film and we do get to see how a city can become panicked by what is happening with a sudden creature attack and potential virus outbreak.

Action/HorrorThe action in the film follows the creature attack, which is one of the most intense scenes of the film, with the rest of the action feeling a lot tamer, but still effective, while the horror is the true creature feature, with a terrifying creature that is mutated.

SettingsThe film is set in Seoul showing how the effects of pollution could create unknown mutations, with the sewers making excellent lair for the creature.

Special EffectsThe effects in the film work well, the final showdown might look the weakest, but the rest shows just how horrific the situation would be.

Scene of the Movie – The creatures first attack.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – The final battle, while it works for the fight, the effects do seem to have dated.

Final Thoughts This is an excellent creature feature that can be enjoyed by everyone, it brings a creature that comes from human’s own carelessness, which only shows the reality of pollution.

Overall: Creature Feature Galore.

The Host (2020) Movie Review

Director: Andy Newbery

Writer: Finola Geraghty, Brendan Bishop, Laurence Lamers (Screenplay) Laurence Lamers, Zachary Weckstein (Story)

Starring: Mike Beckingham, Maryam Hassouni, Doughie Poynter, Nigel Barber, Suan-Li Ong, Togo Igawa, Tom Wu, Derek Jacobi

Plot: A opportunity arises for Robert Atkinson, a London banker who risks his bank’s money to leave the mundane behind to start a new life.

Runtime: 1 Hour 42 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Crime Horror 101

Story: The Host starts as we meet down on his luck Robert Atkinson (Beckingham) who has filled his life with bad decisions, including an affair with a married woman, stealing from his bank and gambling with money he doesn’t have, facing even more trouble, he gets offered a deal to make a delivery to Amsterdam.

Once in Amsterdam, Robert finds what seems like a simple delivery, taking a turn when DEA Agent Herbert Summers (Barber) picks him out and Robert is caught in the middle of completing the delivery or jail or something way worse.

Thoughts on The Host

Characters – Robert Atkinson is a banker that has spiralled out of control, he steals from work, gambles with money he doesn’t have and has cut ties with most people in his life. To get out of his problems, he is offered a delivery job, one that will clear most of his debts, it seems simple enough, but it does take a turn for the worse for him. Vera Tribbe runs the accommodation that Robert stays in, it is a giant house that is filled with secrets behind her welcoming nature. Steve is Robert’s brother that has tried to help him get back on the right track, no matter what he has done in the past, he will help him through the toughest time. Herbert Summers sees the delivery Robert is on and looks to use him to get what he needs in the battle against the gang running deliveries around the world.

PerformancesMike Beckingham takes the leading role, showing us just how desperate his character has become, Maryam Hassouni is the star performer in the film with her truly dark turn, where Dougie Poynter, Nigel Barber and Suan-Li Ong giving strong supporting performances too.

StoryThe story here follows a man who is down on his luck making a deal with a gang leader to make a delivery to clear his debts, only for this simple task to take a very dark turn. This does start out looking like it will be a routine crime thriller with somebody needing to clean up their debts, we get the mix Robert getting stuck in the middle of the criminals and the law. This story does take a big twist, which will surprise and go in a very different direction which is shocking to see. The story does try to blend the two together, but does struggle though because we focus on the crime side dragging us in, only for most of this to get forgotten through the horror side, which does take over the second half of the story.

Crime/Horror/MysteryThe crime side of the film does feel routine for the most part, only this takes the back burner once the horror side of the film is unleashed, which is surprising by what happens.

SettingsThe film is mostly set inside the mansion like house in Amsterdam, the house shows us the mystery with the size, the secret rooms and the eerie feel to it.

Scene of the Movie – Vera’s true nature.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – The crime side of the story does seem to get forgotten once the horror comes out.

Final Thoughts This is a crime thriller that is covered with a big horror twist to everything going on which is nice, only it does seem to get stuck in the middle of both sides.

Overall: Killer Twist to the Crime Thriller.

THE HOST is available on demand from 17th April 2020