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Host- a Korean film

From:     angelina
Category: Films
Date:     10 April 2007
Time:     07:45 AM


I deliberately describe this as a Korean film.  As much as I hate to pigeon hole things into categories, 
in addition to the backdrop, the humour and cultural sensitivities were definitely not of the Hollywood 
kind.  Which was the film's saving grace, as otherwise it would have been a run of the mill 
horror/humour genre film, similar to Tremors and the like.

Brief synopsis- evil/careless US scientist instructs powerless/naive Korean assistant to chuck away 
old formaldehyde down sink.  Subsequent mutation in river life form takes shape as a grotesque 
carnivorous monster that wreaks mayhem in the Han River vicinity.   Korean stall holder, poor and not 
very bright, has daughter taken by monster, is quarantined by officials as could have deadly virus 
transmitted by creature.  In hospital gets call from daughter saying she's still alive.  Mission is to find 
daughter with motley crew of dysfunctional family (though in my Oriental opinion stereotypical- lazy 
alcoholic uncle, humble Dad, go getter sister).  Lots of monster action.  In the meantime, US off duty 
army soldier is heralded as hero for helping fend off initial monster attack, but dies due to this 
mysterious virus.

Without giving too much away, good triumphs over evil, but only partially.  Along the way there are 
insights into the US realtionship with Korea, both during and post war.  Mass hysteria reflecting the 
pandemic  (SARS-like)  and media cover ups are shown as all too real, though the monster is totally 
unbelieveable, even compared to the early Jaws it is too comical to take seriously.

a kind of ecological disaster film with an alien and East/West conflicts thrown in, I wouldn't say it was 
an amazing film but good Easter holiday fodder, the one remaining question being- why was it titled 
HOST? Implies that the host was harbouring the virus ie. is the monster, but there was not a parasitic 
element to the story.  Any ideas? Anyone watched this...?

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