7.0/10
72,476
282 user 365 critic

The Host (2006)

Gwoemul (original title)
A monster emerges from Seoul's Han River and focuses its attention on attacking people. One victim's loving family does what it can to rescue her from its clutches.

Director:

(as Joon Ho Bong)

Writers:

(screenplay) (as Joon Ho Bong), (screenplay) (as Jun-won Ha) | 1 more credit »
Reviews
Popularity
1,484 ( 1,273)

Watch Now

From $2.99 (SD) on Amazon Video

ON DISC
22 wins & 20 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Mother (2009)
Crime | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

A mother desperately searches for the killer who framed her son for a girl's horrific murder.

Director: Joon-ho Bong
Stars: Hye-ja Kim, Bin Won, Ku Jin
Crime | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

In 1986, in the province of Gyunggi, in South Korea, a second young and beautiful woman is found dead, raped and tied and gagged with her underwear. Detective Park Doo-Man and Detective Cho... See full summary »

Director: Joon-ho Bong
Stars: Kang-ho Song, Sang-kyung Kim, Roe-ha Kim
Action | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

A secret agent exacts revenge on a serial killer through a series of captures and releases.

Director: Jee-woon Kim
Stars: Byung-hun Lee, Min-sik Choi, In-seo Kim
Crime | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

A recently laid off factory worker kidnaps his former boss' daughter, hoping to use the ransom money to pay for his sister's kidney transplant.

Director: Chan-wook Park
Stars: Kang-ho Song, Ha-kyun Shin, Doona Bae
The Chaser (2008)
Action | Crime | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

A cash-strapped pimp and former police detective draws upon the skills of his old job to track down his missing stable of prostitutes.

Director: Hong-jin Na
Stars: Yun-seok Kim, Jung-woo Ha, Yeong-hie Seo
Thirst (2009)
Fantasy | Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

Through a failed medical experiment, a priest is stricken with vampirism and is forced to abandon his ascetic ways.

Director: Chan-wook Park
Stars: Kang-ho Song, Ok-bin Kim, Hae-suk Kim
Drama | Horror | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

A family is haunted by the tragedies of deaths within the family.

Director: Jee-woon Kim
Stars: Kap-su Kim, Jung-ah Yum, Soo-jung Lim
Action | Adventure | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

The story of two outlaws and a bounty hunter in 1940s Manchuria and their rivalry to possess a treasure map while being pursued by the Japanese army and Chinese bandits.

Director: Jee-woon Kim
Stars: Kang-ho Song, Byung-hun Lee, Woo-sung Jung
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

After a thirteen-year imprisonment for the kidnap and murder of a six-year-old boy, Guem-Ja Lee seeks vengeance on the man truly responsible for the boy's death. With the help of fellow ... See full summary »

Director: Chan-wook Park
Stars: Yeong-ae Lee, Min-sik Choi, Shi-hoo Kim
Snowpiercer (2013)
Action | Drama | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

Set in a future where a failed climate-change experiment kills all life on the planet except for a lucky few who boarded the Snowpiercer, a train that travels around the globe, where a class system emerges.

Director: Joon-ho Bong
Stars: Chris Evans, Jamie Bell, Tilda Swinton
Action | Crime | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

A quiet pawnshop keeper with a violent past takes on a drug-and-organ trafficking ring in hope of saving the child who is his only friend.

Director: Jeong-beom Lee
Stars: Bin Won, Sae-ron Kim, Tae-hoon Kim
Action | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

Things go wrong for a high ranking mobster when he doesn't proceed by his boss's orders.

Director: Jee-woon Kim
Stars: Jung-min Hwang, Ku Jin, Yu-mi Jung
Edit

Cast

Credited cast:
...
Hee-Bong Byun ...
Park Hie-bong (as Byun Hee-bong)
...
Park Nam-il
...
Park Nam-Joo (as Bae Doo-na)
...
Park Hyun-seo (as Ko A-sung)
...
The Monster (voice)
Jae-eung Lee ...
Se-jin
Dong-ho Lee ...
Se-joo
Je-mun Yun ...
Homeless Man
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
...
Donald (as David Joseph Anselmo)
Martin Lord Cayce ...
U.S. Senator
Cristen Cho
...
Additional Voices (voice)
Paul Lazar ...
US Doctor trying to operate Gang-Du
Brian Lee
Edit

Storyline

The film revolves around Park Hee-bong, a man in his late 60s. He runs a small snack bar on the banks of the Han River and lives with his two sons, one daughter, and one granddaughter. The Parks seem to lead a quite ordinary and peaceful life, but maybe they are a bit poorer than the average Seoulite. Hee-bong's elder son Gang-du is an immature and incompetent man in his 40s, whose wife left home long ago. Nam-il is the youngest son, an unemployed grumbler, and daughter Nam-joo is an archery medalist and member of the national team. One day, an unidentified monster suddenly appears from the depths of the Han River and spreads panic and death, and Gang-du's daughter Hyun-seo is carried off by the monster and disappears. All of the family members are in a great agony because they lost someone very dear to them. But when they find out she is still alive, they resolve to save her. Written by Plot Summary

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Monsters are real. See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Drama | Horror | Sci-Fi

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for creature violence and language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

|

Release Date:

30 March 2007 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Host  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

KRW 12,215,500,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$314,488 (USA) (9 March 2007)

Gross:

$2,201,412 (USA) (6 July 2007)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (DVD)

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Ah-sung Ko was starred in recommend by Doona Bae. See more »

Goofs

The sewerage they are searching the monster in, is dry and clean. See more »

Quotes

Park Hie-bong: In a word... her birth was an accident, and so was her death. Old people have always said... that an animal which kills a human... should be torn limb from limb. That it's a human's duty to do so. Until I slit that beast's stomach... and at least find Hyun-seo's body... I'll never leave this world in peace.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Just before the credits ends, you can hear a loud roar of the monster. See more »

Connections

References Battleship Potemkin (1925) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
One crazy horror comedy drama socio-political allegory
26 November 2012 | by (New York City) – See all my reviews

"The Host" is as deceptive and intriguing as its title (there's currently a 6-page thread in the discussion board and we still haven't figured it out). The movie can be taken as a straightforward monster flick, a dark comedy, a sentimental drama, or a rich socio-political allegory.

For the sake of this review, let's approach it as more than an action/comedy/horror flick, and let's assume it's a deeper allegory. There's definitely a lot of symbolism, lots of cultural references and outright satire for you to munch on. I think that's what makes this seemingly-ordinary monster flick into a powerful film.

Right in the first scene, the director sets the tone with a caricature of Western (U.S.) muddling. Like the excellent Korean film "Welcome to Dongmakgol" released a year earlier, this film is not exactly complimentary toward America, so if that irritates you, you might want to skip this. But when you consider all the 80s Hollywood flicks that painted Russia as a villain, I guess it's fair enough that the USA should take its lumps.

(I did want to add that the director takes a diplomatic approach, mocking the American "establishment" while indirectly praising the American individual. He does this by including an American tourist who's really cool. So in other words, his criticisms are not one-sided.)

The plot is two-dimensional but the symbolic implications are profound. The story is about a monster that terrorizes the banks of the Han River and grabs a young girl, prompting her bumbling family to lead a rescue effort, with no help from the Korean authorities. Some say that the monster represents Western imperialism. It could represent a figurative "attack" on Korean culture, autonomy and sovereignty. Or it could even be taken literally to represent environmental terrors caused by American apathy.

Don't worry, the USA isn't the only target here. There are some pretty good jabs at the Korean authorities too, insinuating (in a way that's both entertaining and irritating) that the Korean government is apathetic & hopeless. "So much for Korea's new democracy," says one character at one point in the film. Some critics point out interesting parallels & allusions to the 1980 Gwangju Uprising (where the Korean Government botched the whole situation, killing & wounding hundreds at a student protest). Everyone is fair game in a dark satire like this. In that respect it reminded me of the excellent Veerhoven scifi satires "Starship Troopers" and "Robocop".

Like all good satires, there's a nice amount of comedy to remind us not to take everything at face value. The bumbling family provides some great laughs in the first half, and certain scenes in the hospital are reminiscent of the sarcastic masterpiece "Brazil" with its merciless mockery of all institutional powers. The scene where they're looking for a virus in a guy's head is both riotously hilarious and profoundly disturbing.

I did want to mention one thing in case you're wondering. No, the audience isn't supposed to feel sympathy for the monster, not like in "King Kong". I was actually surprised at that (in a good way), because the director didn't stray from his message with any gratuitous sentimentality. Normally I'm not a fan of killer animal flicks (Jaws, etc) because I usually find myself siding with the animals more readily than the humans. But this film managed to avoid all sympathies, since the monster itself is a product of human idiocy (which is explained in the first scene).

Well I've just thrown a bunch of ideas at you, and I don't claim any of them to be absolute. But the point is that this seemingly-ordinary horror flick is so much more. It's entirely up to you how you want to see it. Like I said up front, you can just see it as a straightforward monster flick, but I think if you read deeper into the parallels with current Korean society, you'll get a whole lot more out of this.


18 of 26 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?