The latest monster offering from Korea, ‘The Host’ is soon to be released in America after enjoying a short, low key release here in the UK.
The creature in this film is a larger than natural amphibian, mutated through the ill-advised and unauthorised release of formaldehyde into the River Han. Unlike Godzilla, ‘The Host’, the name given to the creature, is not intent on destroying cities it is merely after a secluded spot to rest and of course the necessary supply of human food.
The plot, whilst not as linear, is pretty much the same as other films in this genre in that the creature emerges, causes chaos and then is hunted to its demise. In this film however it is a family of not so bright characters who are to be the creature’s nemesis.
When the creature attacks all the people present, including the family, are put under quarantine by government workers as there is a suspected viral risk associated with proximity to the creature. After receiving a phone call from his daughter who is presumed dead the father, and the rest of the family, break out of the facility to track the monster to it’s lair with the hope of retrieving the daughter.
The creature its-self looks pretty decent, like half a fish half a newt; obviously magnified. No men in suits are present and all creature effects are CGI, which whilst they are not going to fool anybody that this creature is real, do a more than decent job. The way it moves looks a little dodgy but some scenes, particularly the regurgitating of food and bones, look really cool. No expense seems to have been spared on the animation and the way the creature moves and reacts within its lair is pretty believable. The multi-jaw physiology is a particularly nice touch.
Now thankfully this film doesn’t take itself seriously, indeed there are hints (specifically in the first half of the film) that it is intended as some what of a comedy as some parts are amusing others though are a little silly for my taste. The story however does sometimes take a turn towards the drama genre and this unfortunately slackens the films pace so that there are periods which do get a little tedious. The story plods along at an inconsistent rate. When the creature is on screen the action is great and the events entertaining. Unfortunately the other parts of the film as I have said are a little slow. The story itself does feel a little bit drawn out and at times there are long periods where the creature isn’t even mentioned or seen.
Overall, if the pace had been kept a little swifter and the story development a little less in depth (a problem I find with many Asian films) then this film would have been a lot more enjoyable. Sadly, what could have been great ends up finishing pretty mediocre.