Thursday, March 8, 2007
I just came back from a pre-screening of the highest grossing of all time in South Korean: "The Host" ("괴물"). (It opens tomorrow.)
Normally I don't like monster movies. Actually most of them gross me out. But tonight at Metreon, I giggled, screamed, gasped, jumped, and I am entertained.
In 2000, the US military base in Seoul dumped highly toxic chemical into Han River. A few years later, a deformed fish monster came out the water, wiping out anybody in sight on the shore. A dysfunctional family runs a small snack shop on the beach, and the young daughter of the family is among those who are swept away by the monster. Despite the horror the monster creates, the family is determined to go on a mission to find their loved one.
The film has scary moments, but to me actually it is more funny than scary. I laughed a lot even when I got scared. I feel the same excitement when I visit a haunted house during Halloween. I chuck after I scream.
What I really like about this film is that it doesn't show off the special effects and it doesn't let the monster run the course of the film. Instead, the film focuses on a few very unique and memorable characters, played by an impressive ensemble casts including the hottest Korean actors. The camera always finds a quiet moment that creates a sharp contrast to the chaos surrounded. Extremely effective.
The film also doesn't shy away from delivering a political message. From how the monster is created to how the US government reacts to the monster, it makes us wonder who the real monster is.
My rating: 8 out of 10.