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FilmStubs: The Host (2006)

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. (R, 120 min.)


Wednesday, April 10, 2024

7:00 PM

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Gang-du (SONG Kang-ho) works at a food-stand on the banks of the Han River. Dozing on the job, he is awakened by his daughter, Hyun-seo ( KO A-sung), who is angry with him for missing a teacher-parent meeting at school. As Gang-du walks out to the riverbank with a delivery, he notices that a large crowd of people has gathered, taking pictures and talking about something hanging from the Han River Bridge. The otherwise idyllic landscape turns suddenly to bedlam when a terrifying creature climbs up onto the riverbank and begins to crush and eat people. Gang-du and his daughter run for their lives but suddenly the thing grabs Hyun-seo and disappears back into the river. The government announces that the thing apparently is the Host of an unidentified virus. Having feared the worst, Gang-du receives a phone call from his daughter who is frightened, but very much alive. Gang-du makes plans to infiltrate the forbidden zone near the Han River to rescue his daughter from the clutches of the horrifying Host… [Magnolia Pictures]

Starring: Song Kang-ho, Byun Hee-Bong, Park Hae-il
Director: Bong Joon Ho
Language: Korean
Genre(s): Horror, Sci-Fi, Action

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"It's unlike just about any other monster movie I've ever seen."

— Richard Roeper, Ebert & Roeper

"A great piece of filmmaking and a legitimate science-fiction/horror classic."

— Peter Hartlaub, San Francisco Chronicle

"Comes up with not only a fistful of nervous pools of fear but also a heady wellspring of classic monster-movie matinee fun."

— Marc Savlov, Austin Chronicle

"A horror thriller, a political satire, a dysfunctional family comedy, and a touching melodrama, Bong Joon-ho's The Host is also one helluva monster movie."

— Jim Emerson, Chicago Sun-Times

"What a pleasure to watch an ambitious horror film that not only frightens but also surprises and engages us completely with its artful shifting of tones."

— Claudia Puig, Claudia Puig USA Today

"The film's limber and inventive director Joon-ho Bong keeps The Host creeping and leaping for its entire two hours, which are filled with incident after incident, alternately terrifying, ridiculous, suspenseful and wry."

— Terry Lawson, Detroit Free Press

"Bravely shifting tones from the horrific to the slapstick and back again, Bong Joon-ho has made a movie that's comprised almost equally of family sitcom, political indictment, high-urban paranoia and maximum-geek, monster-movie delight."

— Geoff Pevere, Toronto Star