Monday, March 12, 2007

Movie Review: The Host

"The Host" seems to give the "Shawn of the Dead" treatment to Japanese monster movies. It's just not as funny as "Shawn ..." was.

The movie opens in a US Army morgue in South Korea in 2000. The American doctor has his Korean assistant dump out several hundreds of bottles of formaldehyde (can you believe I spelled that right on the first try?) because the bottles were dusty. The assistant objects since the drain goes into the river, the chemicals are toxic, and there are regulations on the disposal of them, but his boss makes it an order.
Two years later some fishermen see something strange swimming in the river. It's still small enough to fit in a coffeecup.
Then in 2006 we meet a family that owns a food kiosk along the river. Grandpa owns it, his idiot son helps run it, his other son went to college but can't get a job, his daughter is a competitive archer, and his granddaughter (daughter of the idiot son) is still in school. A strange blob is hanging under a bridge and everyone is gathering around to watch it. It drops from the bridge and people stand around and throw things in the water for it to eat. Next thing you know this giant fish/lizard/mutant thing is running around eating people. Finally it takes the granddaughter and swims off. Everyone thinks she's dead until she calls them on her POS cellphone. The rest of the movie is spent from the perspective of the family as they try to track down and save the granddaughter while evading the military.

The humor is dark and often only the knowledge that this is a horror/comedy makes it funny.
The creature looks fantastic. Only when set on fire do the effects look like rubbish. Besides being a giant mutant creature it has several deformities that make it a proper toxic waste mutant instead of just a healthy undiscovered creature. One of it's eyes is surrounded with blisters and seems to have cataracts. It has what appear to be giant fish half embedded head first in it's torso at random places.

It is subtitled except when talking to Americans. That doesn't bother me, but I know some people hate that.

"The Host" is a great movie and I'll almost certainly get it on DVD.

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