Area 314- The Host
“You don’t have to clean up now. Why don’t you dump this first? Its Formaldehyde to be precise. To be even more precise, dirty Formaldehyde. Every bottle is coated with layers of dust. Pour them into the sink.” -US doctor in morgue (Scott Wilson)
Monsters have been a huge part of horror from the very beginning from back when cave men were drawing them on cavern walls. All the way to giant Kaiju bursting out of the ocean onto the big screen, or needing a bigger boat because you have a fish problem, or even having to stay extremely quiet because if you make a peep John Krasinski may just have to sacrifice himself for you. All these monsters were created all over the world! Monsters are universal and because of that the melting pot that is monster movies has amazing contrast and versatility. The king of monster movies right now, Mr. Guillermo del Toro Gomez is a Mexican filmmaker. Look what he’s done for horror and Monster movies in general. Shape of Water was beautiful and brutal, while the Hellboy films have brought Monsters back into kid’s imaginations and even allow them to root for these courageous beasts. Bong Joon Ho is a South Korean filmmaker who has been making quite the splash lately with his most recent masterpiece Parasite. Before all this success and spotlight, the man made a Monster movie called The Host. And just like the genre itself, The Host is a melting pot of genres layered in a one of a kind story.
The Host is a monster movie with heart. The creature in this film was actually man made! The quote in the beginning of this blog is in references to a scene where two doctors pour dangerous chemicals down a sink that leads directly to Seoul’s Han River and essentially creates a giant amphibious fish creature that comes back to bite mankind in the butt. This is a very symbolic gesture that as a race we are trashing this planet and aren’t taking care of each other or it. Creature features typically have more than one meaning to them. The Host isn’t any different. I love when the awful people in these flicks get what they deserved. Ever since that damn dirt biker in Pumpkinhead…you had it coming dude.
The Host also touches on family togetherness. Early in the movie a little girl gets pulled away from her family by the Han River Muto and taken away to its nest for a late-night snack, I always assumed. The Park family could have easily given up and just assumed the worst had happened but they all stuck together and ended up pulling together and going out to search for her. Family is what you make of it and I would like to think my family would come looking for me if or when a Muto shows up. I love the idea of people pulling together to defeat something evil. Especially family. It feels more believable and natural in a film.
The Host has so many things to like about it but the thing that sticks out the most is the cinematography and creature effects. There are some amazing above view shots where your looking down into the water from up high watching mysterious movements of currents and shadows. These shots added so much depth to the creature and truly gave me the chills. I absolutely loved the look of the Han River Horror. Its dark green translucent skin and multiple limbs gave the creature a mutated but graceful look. A Lovecraft meets Hedorah blend! This particular creature has Predator like grabbers in front of his mouth that he would use to suck in humans like sugar straws. At one point the Monster was so full he was running around Seoul with random body parts sticking out of his mouth. Pretty amazing visual. As scary as this creature was…humans were the real villains in this movie. Mass hysteria causes people to do awful things to each other. Sometimes the Monsters in movies only represent who we are as a people. The Host is a great look in the mirror. Order some pizza, pop some popcorn, and watch this creature feature with the family! We could all learn a little something.