The Host, typical horror film or something more?



The Host is a Korean monster flick which was released in 2006. After toxic chemicals are dumped into the Han river, it spawns an aquatic abomination which terrorizes the river bank. During its initial rampage it kidnaps the Park family’s youngest. This sets off the family’s journey to save their own. Indulging in my cholesterol leaden snacks, I dived into this highly acclaimed film.

Why are you turning around you psycho BITCH?

My favorite component of the film was its character development. During the initial loss of their loved one, the family is seen sobbing and wailing over their loss, eventually collapsing onto the ground as a crumpled mess. However, throughout the journey the family is seen working in unison to save their loved one. This growth is especially apparent in the main protagonist Park Gang-Doo His half-blonde hair is unkempt and his appearance downright shaggy. His morals are questionable as he skims off his customer’s meals.  He serves his daughter instant noodles, a meal devoid of beneficial nutrients. In essence he was a typical layabout. However, despite his jarring flaws, his one saving grace was his devotion to his daughter. Using his love for her as fuel for the journey, he overcomes impossible odds in order to save his daughter.  Although his daughter is lost in the end, he has become a better man by the end of it, keeping a vigil over the river in case of another attack and properly caring for his newly adopted son.

Main protagonist Park Gang-Doo.

While the film has many merits such as its fantastic use of special effects and array of colorful characters, much of its praise comes from its hidden messages. Many of which are critical of America. Donald, the second American character to appear, runs in to save the day during the monster’s attack. His exaggerated accent and compulsive urge to help is reflective of America’s tendency to interfere and impose their will. His female companion takes on the role of a stereotypical damsel in distress, screaming in the background without taking any real action. This parodies Hollywood’s conventional way of imposing roles onto genders, its “male gaze”. Males are essentially the seers and women for objectification. It is easy to also interpret the strong Korean female characters in this film as contraflow to such western paradigms.

Another thing that propagated the film’s success was the zeitgeist during the film’s launch. In 2000, US military had dumped toxic chemicals into the Han river. Antagonism against the US was still high at the time. The film’s premise was an exaggeration of what could have happened because of the US’s negligence. This hit home for many Koreans, spreading in popularity for many affected by the incident.

Overall, the film was thoroughly entertaining even without its heavy political background. I would rate it 8/10.

Hope you enjoyed my post!

Enjoyed my post? Leave a comment in the comment section below!  (ノ◕ヮ◕)ノ*:・゚✧


5 Replies to “The Host, typical horror film or something more?”

  1. Hey Shaawn, I agree with your view on how the character development is something that should not be overlooked. While many are probably fascinated by the impressive CGI (for the period 2006), the real story was the one revolving around the family. Yes the monster did provide elements of horror and but the real storylines were weaved between the family members. Personally, I feel that while some might view Park Nam-joo’s character as the real hero who eventually killed the giant fish, Gang-doo’s character was the real hero in my eyes. The scene where he fed the boy he adopted really warmed my heart. Overall I think this piece was an easy read and it provided enough detail on the movie. P.S. I really think the layout of your blog is cute! =b

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I like your analysis on the characters in The Host. It is clear that there is substantial understanding on the development and growth of the characters throughout the story line. From the interpretation of Gang-doo’s appearance to something as minute as feeding instant noodles to his child, and Gang-doo eventually cleaning up his act after his daughter’s death, it is notable that you have a good understanding of his character. Meanwhile, the hidden meaning behind Donald’s actions in the film was completely missed by me. Through your sagacious analysis of Donald and his girlfriend, it is then apparent that the film is satirical in mocking Hollywood’s stereotypical gender roles through these two characters, a hero and a damsel in distress. However, Donald had suffered an unsightly end, in much contrast to a typical Western setting. Overall I enjoyed reading your post with your clear and concise writing style and the apt use of images. It would also be great if you are able to add in your feelings with regards to the movie.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. A very simple, yet informative review! I like how Sean starts his blog by giving a very short and clear introduction of The Host (2006) and the way how he describes every single sentence in a detailed manner and easy to understand. He also inserts some graphics and pictures which I think it’s a very good way to attract readers to continue reading blog post. Sean also pointed out and explained his favorite component of the film. I do agree on the point which Sean mentioned that this film contained some hidden messages and the success of this film. I also like how he ends the post with his own rating of the film, which allows the readers to really think if he/she should watch this film!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Hi Sean!
    I totally agree that the family in this film is not your usual fake one that usually portrayed in other films. Despite the fact that the siblings always fight with each other and may not unite if not for the father, but you can still feel they still love each other by showing it in their own way.
    Your point regarding ‘Donald’ and his girlfriend also caught my attention as you analyse the parody behind the short scene to be a critique against the America. I really like the way you portray it by saying it reflects America’s tendency to be a busybody and need to be the hero.
    The rating you give for each film is also a very unique and fun way to show your interest of it. Nice work! I am looking forward for your next post 😉


  5. Hi Sean,
    I would like to begin by complimenting your clever use of the English vocabulary in this blog post.
    I felt that your review was simple and yet covered all the key aspects of the film. You started off with an introduction of the main characters and slowly dived into the “hidden messages” of the film. I too felt that the film was a representation of what could have happened during the 2000 toxic chemical fiasco, albeit exaggerated, it made a point.
    All in all, I think your blog post would enlighten someone who is yet to see the film, without giving too much away. I also liked how you rated the movie on a scale of 10 at the end of it. Great post!


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