358 user 403 critic

The Host (2006)

Gwoemul (original title)
2:07 | Trailer
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.


Bong Joon Ho


Bong Joon Ho (screenplay), Won-jun Ha (screenplay) (as Jun-won Ha) | 1 more credit »
2,129 ( 93)
25 wins & 34 nominations. See more awards »





Credited cast:
Song Kang-Ho ... Park Gang-Doo
Byun Hee-Bong ... Park Hie-bong (as Byun Hee-bong)
Hae-il Park ... Park Nam-il
Bae Doona ... Park Nam-Joo (as Bae Doo-na)
Asung Ko ... Park Hyun-seo (as Ko A-sung)
Dal-su Oh ... The Monster (voice)
Jae-eung Lee Jae-eung Lee ... Se-jin
Dong-ho Lee Dong-ho Lee ... Se-joo
Je-mun Yun ... Homeless Man
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
David Anselmo ... Donald (as David Joseph Anselmo)
Do-bin Baek ... Fumigation truck skinny man
Martin Lord Cayce Martin Lord Cayce ... U.S. Senator
Cristen Cho Cristen Cho
Dae-Sung Choi Dae-Sung Choi ... Man from duck boat
Doo-Yeong Choi Doo-Yeong Choi ... Man on blind date


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


Monsters are real. See more »


Action | Drama | Horror | Sci-Fi

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »

Did You Know?


The film takes place in 2000, 2002, and 2006. See more »


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


Mr. Yoon: You are dimwits, right to the end. I'll see you in hell.
See more »

Crazy Credits

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


Referenced in Nerdcore for Life (2008) See more »

User Reviews

Brilliant opening attack leaves the film rapidly going downhill from then on
24 April 2008 | by bob the mooSee all my reviews

A release of chemicals into Seoul's Han River has an immediate and deadly impact when a mutation occurs within the animal life. The extent of this is made very clear when a massive creature attacks those enjoying a summer's day in the park. Many are killed, including young Hyun-seo. The military move in, quarantining everyone despite their grief. However Hyun-seo is still alive having been dumped in the creatures layer, deep in the sewer and uses a mobile recovered from another body to contact her father. Nobody believes his claims that his daughter is still alive though, so the family go out to hunt down the creature.

From the plot summary you would be forgiven for believing this to be a simple creature feature and indeed this idea is reinforced by a really stylish and exciting opening twenty minutes. Sadly this is not continued or indeed ever matched as the film seems to have far too many ideas and themes and far too little idea of how to pull them all together into a coherent or engaging story. It happens at the start with a clumsy and obvious "message" scene about pollution but I forgave this since everything from there went so well and the attack on the park was so professionally done. The sense of panic and voyeurism is conveyed convincingly while the action is so exciting. Once past this though we get lots of stuff about military intervention, mistrust of authorities, US intervention in Korea, foreign corporations and the inability of the man in the street to stop (or care about) any of it – or, as my partner described it, "lots of random sh1t". I do not agree with her rather harsh summary because in theory there is plenty of value in the themes and ideas that the film tries to work with and I could even accept it if I had not understood everything because I do not have the Korean frame of reference.

The problem was though that it didn't come together and the allegories and thematic content only served to slow and dull the film while also completely throwing any hope of a consistent tone. So we get suffering thrown up against comedy; horror thrown up against conspiracy; politics thrown up against family threads etc. And none of them merge at all with the end result of a film that constantly had me wondering where it was all going and, more importantly, when was it going to end? The latter question is valid because, with all these ideas the film runs to almost two hours – a trifle if a film engages you but for one this messy and erratic it is far too long a running time for this to carry.

The cast seem as lost as I was at times and their performances vary wildly. They are asked to be real people but yet also expected to carry the poor mix of humour, horror and political meaning and they cannot manage it. Ah-sung has the easiest ride as she is very much in the horror part of the film but the rest (Kang-ho, Hie-bong and Hae-il) has significantly harder roles that they cannot save from the rest of the film. Joon-ho's direction on the action and horror sequences is impressive and it is a shame that he fudges almost every other aspect of it.

The overall result is a horror movie that simply never gets close to the impact of the opening few scenes. The horror is lost in a clumsy and ineffective attempt at wider meaning and at two hours, it is far too long to sustain itself – long outstaying its welcome. Unfortunately this is one Korean film that does not deserve the hype and is only worth seeing for the excellent opening attack sequence.

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South Korea


Korean | English

Release Date:

30 March 2007 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Host See more »

Filming Locations:

Seoul, South Korea See more »


Box Office


KRW12,215,500,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$320,000, 11 March 2007

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


| (DVD)

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital EX



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

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