UK Release Date: 10th November 2006
Watched on Sky+ Monday 9th July 2012.
PLEASE NOTE: THERE MAY BE SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW.
I first saw this film a few years ago and really liked it; having not reviewed it yet I decided to give it a second look when it aired on TV again recently. I must admit I still very much enjoyed this Korean horror/comedy/monster movie. I guess I had better warn those few out there who fear the subtitle that they are to be found (in the usual place) attached to this film. I will give you my thoughts after this very brief summary.
When the Han River becomes polluted something mutates and a monster starts to stalk the crowded shores. A family who run a food stall at the side of the river become victims when Park Gang-Doo’s daughter, Park Hyun-seo is taken by the monster. Devastated, Gang-Doo is joined by his father, Park Hie-bong, his brother, Park Nam-il and his sister, Park Nam-Joo in grief. The army have detected a virus, possibly spread by the creature, and they are all quarantined. It is at this point that Gang-Doo receives a faint phone call from his daughter; she is still alive, but where? All they know is that its somewhere in the sewers and the authorities will not believe them! Now Gang-Doo is not the sharpest knife in the drawer by any stretch of the imagination and so the whole family join together, break out of hospital and set off to find Hyun-seo. But can they find her in time?... I’ll leave it there or the Spoiler Police (Korean Horror/Comedy Division) will have me cooking squid for their annual barbecue (again).
Although some of the CGI may not be of the best quality, there is an endearing quality to this film. I love the use of music throughout; it’s a traditional score, but it’s used in an interesting and refreshing way. All the performances are very good; I particularly liked Kang-ho Song as Park Gang-Doo and the young Ah-sung Ko as Park Hyun-seo; both really stood out for me. Honourable mentions must also go to; Hie-bong Byeon as Park Hie-bong, Hae-il Park as Park Nam-il and Doona Bae as Park Nam-Joo.
Unusually for a monster movie, we get to see the monster quite early on but this in no way detracts from the impact. I did find the film had some quite touching moments as well as some really comic but I found the mix about right. You really get to know the characters despite the language barrier and this helps in understanding their actions. Over all, a really enjoyable film and one I am very happy to deem… RECOMMENDED.
My Score 7.4/10
IMDb Score: 7.0/10 (based on 38,804 votes at the time of going to press).
MetaScore: 85/100: (Based on 35 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com at the time of going to press).
Rotten Tomatoes ‘Tomatometer’ Score: 92/100 (based on 145 reviews counted at the time of going to press).
Rotten Tomatoes ‘Audience’ Score: 69/100 ‘Liked It’ (based on 171,596 user ratings counted at the time of going to press).
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US Doctor in Morgue: Mr. Kim,
[running a finger along the counter]
US Doctor in Morgue: I hate dust more than anything.
Young Korean Doctor: Oh, I will clean again.
US Doctor in Morgue: You don't have to clean up now. Why don't you dump this first?
Young Korean Doctor: That's formaline.
US Doctor in Morgue: Formaldehyde, to be precise. To be even more precise, dirty formaldehyde. Every bottle is coated with layers of dust. Pour 'em into the sink.
Young Korean Doctor: Excuse me?
US Doctor in Morgue: Just empty every bottle to the very last drop.
Young Korean Doctor: It's just - They are toxic chemicals, and the regulations state -
US Doctor in Morgue: Pour them right down the drain, Mr. Kim.
Young Korean Doctor: If I pour them in the drain, they'll run into the Han River.
US Doctor in Morgue: That's right. Let's just dump them in the Han River.
Young Korean Doctor: But, you know, this is not just any toxic chemicals -
US Doctor in Morgue: The Han River is very broad, Mr. Kim. Let's try to be broad-minded about this. Anyway, that's an order. So, start pouring.
Park Nam-il: Look at that... Isn't that amazing? In this situation?
Park Nam-Joo: Wake him up, there's no time.
Park Hie-bong: Let him sleep a minute. He needs to sleep every so often.
Park Nam-il: Should we leave him here? He's no help anyway?
Park Hie-bong: Kids, wait a minute. Sit down. In your view, is Gang-du really so pathetic?
Park Nam-il: Yup.
Park Nam-Joo: Yes.
Park Hie-bong: You wouldn't know it, but he was a really smart kid. For example, when he was two, he'd sit in front of the village store, and everyone walking by would ask him directions. That's how smart he looked. As you know, when he was young, I was out of my mind, hardly ever coming home, staying out all night. And this poor boy with no mother, he must have been so hungry. Going around, doing seo-ri all the time. Raising himself an organic farm. Whenever he got caught, he'd get beaten up. In this way, he lacked protein when he needed it most. So that's why, every now and then, he dozes off like a sick rooster. I think something up there
[gesturing to his brain]
Park Hie-bong: must have gone wrong too.
Park Nam-il: [starts as he nearly falls asleep]
Park Hie-bong: Have any of you heard it? The heartbreak of a parent who's lost a child... When a parent's heart breaks, the sound can travel for miles. So I really need to say this to you. Be as nice to Gang-du as you can. Don't scold him, okay?
(Note: All were working at the time of going to press)
Official Site: http://www.hostmovie.com/