Published on October 7th, 2013 | by Dan Gvozden0
THE HOST – STREAM MY REELS
“Stream My Reels” is a weekly column that will feature one recommended streaming title from many different sources (Netflix, OnDemand, Amazon Prime, Hulu, etc.).
Anyone who follows my work closely or has ever asked me for a film recommendation of any kind will know that I will immediately go straight for contemporary South Korean cinema. There is something special about the country’s modern output that I can’t quite put my finger on. All the films feel culturally familiar but with a strange hook applied. This years Stoker is a great example of a film that takes a familiar concept and applies a very stylistic coat to it that sets it apart from its peers.
Of all the modern South Korean directors my favorite is Joon-ho Bong, whose new film Snowpiercer will hopefully be released sometime this year. The film that set off my obsession with Korean cinema is probably his most well-known film, 2006’s The Host. It’d be almost impossible to categorize The Host or to assign it a genre. It starts off as a sort of political commentary and quickly evolves into a giant monster movie, dysfunctional family comedy, and plague film.
There are moments of pure terror sidled right up alongside moments of bizarre comedy. The monster that starts off terrifying soon makes way for an even greater evil that threatens to tear a family apart. Most films unfold all their genuine ideas and surprises upfront and the rest of the film follows the results of those notions. The Host constantly reinvents itself throughout its length and allows for its truly original monster to set up situations that will continue to surprise.
For me the greatest moment in the film comes when the protagonist’s family sits down for a ramen dinner. The creature that has emerged from Seoul’s River Han has kidnapped our hero’s daughter and the monster won’t allow him to get his mind off of his family. As they eat dinner together the young girl climbs out from under the table and begins to eat with the family. This kind of visual imagery is rare and incredibly poignant. We know she isn’t actually there at the diner, but it emphasizes how the family bonded and the core essence of their relationships as a family. If only more monster movies could make time for a family meal as refreshing as this one.
“The Host” is now available for instant streaming on Netflix Watch Instant, Amazon Prime, Hulu+, Crackle, HitBliss, Redbox Instant, and YouTube.