The Host


Universal acclaim - based on 35 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 34 out of 35
  2. Negative: 0 out of 35

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Critic Reviews

  1. 100
    The mix of dark humor, creeping suspense, and a sort of apocalyptic tenderness makes this the best horror flick in years.
  2. A great piece of filmmaking and a legitimate science-fiction/horror classic.
  3. 100
    Joon-Ho's epic is a masterpiece of monster cinema that's intelligent, innovative, and reaches down to the basic core of family unity to propel its story beyond mere conventions of science fiction.
  4. The Host isn't just a terrific monster movie. This South Korean box-office smash is also a laugh-out-loud comedy and a surprisingly angry political satire.
  5. 100
    I have seen The Host twice and have every intention of watching it again.
  6. Bong Joon-ho's wildly entertaining saga should become the hip, thinking-person's monster movie of choice.
  7. A cross between "Godzilla" and "Jaws," it manages to be both truly scary and truly funny – sometimes all at once.
  8. The sudden turns of temperament are a treat after the smart-ass attitude of American horror flicks, and the film is full of minor surprises, squirming in unexpected directions without leaving the conventions behind.
  9. 90
    With a subversive streak as wide as the Han and a title open to interpretation, The Host confounds our expectations while providing top-notch entertainment. For Bong, the monster movie is an ample vessel, one that he can fill with social criticism while discovering exuberant amusement in the process.
  10. The Host is a cautionary environmental tale about the domination of nature and the costs of human folly, and it may send chills up your spine. But only one will tickle your fancy and make you cry encore, not just uncle.
  11. Reviewed by: Richard Corliss
    If this madly entertaining movie has a fault, it's that it's too ingenious for the genre it ostensibly inhabits.
  12. Reviewed by: Dana Stevens
    The movie pops up out of nowhere, grabs you in its big, messy tentacles, and drags you down into murky depths, where social satire coexists with slapstick, and B-movie clichés mutate into complex metaphors.
  13. 89
    The Host is a freewheeling mix of high style and goofy, good-natured fear-mongering.
  14. Reviewed by: Glenn Kenny
    When the movie isn't being scary, it's crazily funny, so much so that critical watchers will wonder if Bong might tilt the balance of the picture too far in a comic direction and water down the scares. He doesn't.
  15. The tone of The Host is slippery in the best way; you're never sure if you're in for a joke or a shock, yet nothing feels random.
  16. Reviewed by: Claudia Puig
    This Korean-made film takes the well-worn creature-feature genre and spins it on its head thrillingly.
  17. 88
    A fantastical genre-buster.
  18. Boon's film is both funny and heartbreaking, a supremely confident mix of political satire, free-floating paranoia, fractured family dynamics and the kind of comedy that regularly reconfigures itself into tragedy.
  19. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    Mostly, though, it's "Godzilla" with a severe case of Murphy's Law, and it is never less than bizarrely delightful.
  20. 88
    Is it that scary? Yes. Will it reduce you to quivering jelly? Oh, my, yes! Does it bust the bonds of the Godzilla formula to fuse fright with feeling? Better believe it, dudes.
  21. A wonderful, witty mix of horror and social satire, The Host takes its simple, time-tested premise - menacing creature terrorizes the populace - and runs with it.
  22. The first 20 minutes of the South Korean film The Host represents one of the most entertaining movie openings in memory. It's the same kind of pop-culture thrill provided by Steven Spielberg's "Jaws," with the same sense of astonishment, fear and pleasure at something genuinely new.
  23. 83
    Most of all, The Host functions as a popcorn movie par excellence, loaded with the most familiar conventions, but shot through with such conviction and visual panache that even its clichés seem invigorating.
  24. Reviewed by: Derek Elley
    On almost every level, there's never quite been a monster movie like The Host. Egregiously subverting its own genre while still delivering shocks at a pure genre level, and marbled with straight-faced character humor that constantly throws the viewer off balance.
  25. The Host packs a lot into its two tumultuous hours: lyrically disgusting special effects, hair-raising chases, outlandish political satire, and best of all, a dysfunctional-family psychodrama--an odyssey that's like a grisly reworking of "Little Miss Sunshine."
  26. 80
    The Host is a miracle of breathless play with form and tone that also seethes with attitude and ideas, from pure movie love to pointed sociopolitical commentary to a bleak existentialism about the inherent cruelty of our world.
  27. 80
    A thrilling ride and a sometimes dry, sometimes sweet comedy, but beneath all that is a humane and tragic view of life worthy of the greatest films. Even those without rubber monsters.
  28. Bong's primary point is dead-on: Battling bureaucracy, from dishonest government leaders to indifferent civil servants, is the biggest horror of all.
  29. I never thought I'd crack up watching a family mourn the death of a beloved daughter. But I've never seen a film quite like The Host, and that's far from the most bizarre thing in it.
  30. 75
    Although it strikes a perfect balance between otherworldly, slimy menace and 1950s B-movie cheesiness, The Host's computer-generated mutant isn't what makes this frantic, wild picture so much fun.
  31. Bong has pulled together a multilayered horror-drama that works more often than not. The film gets back on track after a clumsy middle section that's too long and finishes strong, and Bong fans, horror fans and Asiaphiles are likely to be thoroughly satisfied.
  32. 70
    Gross-out horror is never far from comedy and The Host, Bong Joon-ho's giddy creature feature, has an anarchic mess factor worthy of a pile of old "Mad" magazines.
  33. It's the last thing anyone expected: an old-fashioned monster movie with a heart.
  34. 63
    The Host is a strange little movie: part creature feature, part social commentary, and part slapstick comedy. The problem with the film is that the sum isn't greater than the parts and the pieces don't fuse in a way that's consistently pleasing or cinematically satisfying.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 222 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 48 out of 104
  2. Negative: 39 out of 104
  1. Dec 18, 2011
    This review contains spoilers, click full review link to view. It is often difficult to identify with foreign films as we don't "get" the inside stuff. This film was done throughout the 1950's on small budgets. Yet there were believable monsters or forces and the characters dealt with them almost the way we think we would have. There also were many "monster" films that spent no attention to detail, poorly developed characters, inept dialogue, and maybe a political statement or some pathos thrown in. We have the latter here.
    The acting is at times silly and then serious. Why does the monster kidnap people? A snack later? And the bad government including the U.S. made to look inept. If the film takes place in the present there is technology that could have easily found the monster and destroyed it. Oh yeah, couldn't because of the virus.
    Why critics have chosen to heap praise on this is beyond my understanding. It seems like the makers of the film tried but it just doesn't play to American sensibilities. I fast forwarded through most of it. Not impressed with the monster or the humans. But maybe that's just my American perspective. It got raves in Korea. For these reasons I rate it a U for unratable or maybe unwatchable. You want to see a good foreign monster movie, try Big Man Japan.
    Full Review »
  2. Jul 3, 2012
    Wow i really was expecting such a great monster movie with plenty of scares and good effects and acting, or at least that's what all of theWow i really was expecting such a great monster movie with plenty of scares and good effects and acting, or at least that's what all of the movie critics were saying. So when i saw this movie at blockbuster, i decided "why not? everyone says its a good movie" so i rented it, little did i know that i was being lured into the biggest crap-fest that i have ever seen in my life. For starters, the plot really made no sense at all, I mean, why would toxic acid turn a fish into a giant monster?, and if so, then how come only ONE fish was affected by the acid, when there's at least a couple hundred fish in the lake. Secondly, the acting was laughable and couldn't fool a four year old, and quite frankly, neither could the "monster". Lastly, the dubbing, I really hated how this was a Korean movie and was meant to STAY in Korea but some idiot decided to translate it to English so they could bring this garbage film over to America, and the dubbing sucked so bad, i ,mean when the people were done talking , their mouths were still moving. this movie sucked, bottom line, and if you want to see a GOOD monster film then i recommend "the mist" Full Review »
  3. Sep 25, 2011
    The movie offers more than a blockbuster spirit. It gives unpredictable humor and scares that differs from those western movies. In the end, IThe movie offers more than a blockbuster spirit. It gives unpredictable humor and scares that differs from those western movies. In the end, I strongly recommend you to watch this. You won't regret. Full Review »