The Host | Chicago Reader

The Host

Rated R 118 minutes 2006

The Asian monster movie comes screeching and stomping into the 21st century with this entertaining, culturally loaded popcorn thriller from South Korea. Bubbling through it is a deep resentment of American hubris: years after a complacent U.S. Army surgeon (Scott Wilson) orders poison dumped into the Han River, a giant sea beast comes raging ashore in Seoul, leaving in its wake a virus the U.S. wants to combat with a secret chemical weapon called agent yellow. Director Bong Joon-ho (Memories of Murder) tempers all this international paranoia with an endearingly offbeat family story about a shiftless merchant (Tsong Gang-ho) who springs into action after his daughter's dragged off by the monster. The mix of dark humor, creeping suspense, and a sort of apocalyptic tenderness makes this one of the best horror flicks of the aughts. In English and subtitled Korean.

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