The Host Review
Written by: jamhorner
I always love Japanese horror movies, the reason being is because they are always one step ahead of us when it comes down to character analysis, real horror, clique situations and moral family values. When it comes to The Host, we see many of this stuff, but we also see that they have added in American influence to the mix. The story follows a family and their emotional struggle to survive when a monster attacks the city, after kidnapping their younger daughter. What makes this movie work so efficiently is the great acting, the family situations that they experience, the subtle comedy and the American influence. The horror itself was limited, though it was nonetheless a very good addition to the Japanese horror lineup. However, this movie came out in 2007 and it is not a rip-off, sequel, prequel or homage to Cloverfield as many of the online fans have thought.
First off is the outstanding acting. The notable acting came from the father character, whose performance was very brilliant and emotional, the big brother character, who may seem dumb but his performance was very great and humorous, and lastly the suave brother, who may have been a bit too harsh and uncontrollable, but very good. Other great supporting casts came from the kidnapped daughter and the archer sister. There was also an okay small role for the homeless brothers. The only problem with this great analysis of the characters was that it took up most of the movie; I wanted to see a bit more monster attacks rather than character balance. Though, I enjoyed the acting and it really brought some emotional tension and heartbreaking scenes that this movie couldn’t have done without.
I enjoyed the fact that they touched based on. There were some great values on issues like “taking over the family business,” the responsibility that the big brother has over his younger sister and his ascension into becoming a man of responsibility and trust. I enjoyed the scene in which the grandpa gave his lecture as to why the other brother is “slow,” which demonstrates the perfect example of respecting your family. There was that heartbreaking scene, which was oddly funny too, on the morning wall that really gave an impact on me. There are just so many great examples of family and moral values that are demonstrated through this movie.
There are also some great comedy scenes that almost felt like they didn’t even belong there. Some of them were average day things like slipping or tripping and then making it seem like you did nothing, giving your dad the empty gun to shoot the monster, hysterically crying then falling down and causing a chain reaction, not watching to see if you burnt your food and falling asleep on the job. Just the mundane things that this movie pokes fun at and it’s ultimate effect on the horrific outcomes. There were points in this movie where I did laugh, mostly at the big brother and the father characters. The humor seems to be there to lighten up the mood when things turn grim or to give otherwise serious people a funny side to them, rather than keeping them their boring stereotypical monotone personalities. This movie utilizes humor to show how human some of the strictest people are.
The scars in this movie were not at its prime, which is why this Japanese horror flick seems odd when comparing it to other notable horror movies from this part of the world. When the monster does come and the girl is in focus and the monster is in the back charging her was scary, but some other things like the overall monster attack wasn’t all that scary. Though, the sewer trench that it lives in is pretty creepy, especially when it has dead bodies lying all over and bones. I didn’t jump as much as I thought I would, nor did I get the uneasy feeling that something is very disturbing. The scars seemed more Americanized than actual Japanese style of horror, but I’m not complaining, I enjoyed the new outlook on horror that the Asian community is testing.
Overall, we can see that through this movie there is a great balance of satirical and tongue-in-cheek humor as well as some really good acting, ultimately giving the impression that this movie was heavily influenced by America’s monster movie. I enjoyed this movie a lot and it is one of my favorite Japanese horror/monster movies and one of the best foreign films of the year. I would recommend this movie to those who do enjoy Asian horror, foreign horror flicks as well as those who enjoy a good monster movie. However, to those who do not enjoy comedy-horror or noticeable voice dubbing, then you may want to stay away from this movie. I enjoyed it, and I sincerely hope you will too.