The Host (aka Monster 괴물) (2006)
April 10, 2015 6:36 AM - Subscribe

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.

Character Names:
Hyun-seo: Kidnapped little girl
Nam-joo: Aunt/Bronze-medal archer
Nam-il: Drunk uncle
Gang-du: Father of the little girl
Se-joo: Little boy

Fun Facts:
The doctor who orders the formaldehyde dumped into the river is Scott Wilson aka "Herschel" from The Walking Dead.

The design of the monster is based on a malformed fish with a crooked back that was discovered in the Han River in the 1980s. Presumably, this was due to pollution.

Director Bong Joon-Ho (Snowpiercer) has said that the title 'Host', "means everything that make the main family characters suffer including the government, the system, the U.S. government and the creature."

"The Korean title for The Host, 괴물, literally means Monster."

Click here for the interview with the director.

Trailer is here but it's available on Netflix, Amazon, and

This is part of the MeFi Horror Club series. More info on MeFi Horror Club.
posted by Ik ben afgesneden (10 comments total)
Best quote of the movie is at the end: "Let's turn it [the television] off and concentrate on eating [life]."

The fight over the bribe
Hyun-seo's family rolling around on the ground in grief
The uncle masturbating in his grief (WTF?)
The hazmat worker's slip and fall and awesome recovery
The hazmat worker's mannerisms
Music in the hospital parking garage
The Monster!
Everyone is aware right away that there's a monster instead of 40 minutes of near-sightings
The people save themselves
Acknowledgement that the US uses the slightest pretext to take over
Showing that doctors can be very unethical in pursuit of their pet theories (there's no virus but let's open up a man's head)
The aunt's archery skills aren't that impressive (until the very end)
The dysfunctional family (or as Bong calls them "losers") is still dysfunctional even in their efforts to rescue the little girl
The monster in the daylight!

Very Creepy:
Hyun-seo's dream of eating with her family
The monster collecting and storing his "groceries"

I enjoyed this movie immensely and you can definitely see that Bong grew as a director between this and his latest movies.
posted by Ik ben afgesneden at 6:40 AM on April 10, 2015

I only saw this once, back closer to when it was released. I remember liking it quite a bit.

Your "best quote" address one detail I found really intriguing, which was that there is a lot of screen time devoted to characters eating meals.If that is meant to symbolize life in the face of death, it makes sense.
posted by He Is Only The Imposter at 6:56 AM on April 10, 2015

Yeah, I love this movie - particularly this family of weird misfits coming together and pooling their fairly bizarre and previously unappreciated strengths to overcome everything that's thrown at them. I describe it to people as Little Miss Sunshine meets Godzilla.
posted by Naberius at 8:41 AM on April 10, 2015 [2 favorites]

"I describe this movie to people as Little Miss Sunshine meets Godzilla."

This film has been on my list for a long time.
This description (and, likely, this thread) has moved it to the top of the list.
posted by Seamus at 8:44 AM on April 10, 2015 [1 favorite]

It is a great film, and really helped me to see that for what I want out of a horror film, I should be looking overseas.
posted by nubs at 9:14 AM on April 10, 2015

I really enjoyed this movie when I saw it. Had a bit of a Joe Dante vibe,I thought. Reminded me of a lot of movies I watched as a kid.
posted by smoke at 1:36 AM on April 11, 2015

The dysfunctional/ loving family is great, and I also really like pretty much everything else that has been mentioned (especially the dream sequence with everyone slowly feeding Hyun-seo!). I did find the grieving scene uncomfortable, but I guess there is room for disagreement :).

One thing I'd like to mention is all of the one dimensional caricatures of white Anglo-Americans. From the jock who decides to go toe to toe with the monster, to the anal lab manager in the opening scene, to the (fantastic!) cross-eyed doctor. These characters (and many other things the film did) made The Host feel like a deconstruction of summer-action movies (which are frequently Anglo centric w/ token others thrown in), while still being a celebration of the cool things that summer-action movies do.
posted by GrumpyDan at 8:40 AM on April 11, 2015

The grieving scene is terrible, GrumpyDan. It's meant to be. Extremely uncomfortable and bizarre. That's what makes it great. Remember, Bong is purposefully pointing out the loser-status of the family.

I want to revise my opinion of Hyun-seo's dream sequence. It's not creepy. In the closing scene, I pointed out that food = life but He Is Only The Imposter made me realize I hadn't applied that to the dream. Hyun-seo is dreaming of desperately wanting to live and of her family desperately wanting her to live (which they were doing IRL). That's pretty cool.
posted by Ik ben afgesneden at 9:32 AM on April 11, 2015

Wow. That might have been the best movie I have watched in months.
I'm not sure if it was intended by the director, but until the creature started puking up parts of corpses, I was halfway rooting for it. There was something tormented and put-upon about the beast.
posted by Seamus at 2:27 PM on April 13, 2015 [1 favorite]


I remember sitting with my friends, and we get to the part where the family collapses on the floor around the memorial, half sobbing half beating each other up. And we kinda look at eachother, because they look ridiculous, right? But it's sad. Their daughter/neice/etc just died. But god they're being such assholes! Luckily, the scene goes on long enough to where we all decide that, yes, you're supposed to be laughing right now. I mean, just look at them.

From then on out the movie was great-it was so real, it never took itself too seriously. Same for the escape scene in the parking garage, where the uncle is just slowly jogging next to the van.
posted by FirstMateKate at 7:58 PM on April 20, 2015

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