User Score
6.6

Generally favorable reviews- based on 189 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 46 out of 189

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  1. Aug 23, 2010
    0
    That was not a horror movie, it was a terrible piece of a movie!
    Even if this was a parody of a horror movie it wasnt good.
    No scary parts.... really.
    It sucked, waste of time :(
  2. Sep 25, 2011
    8
    The 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.
  3. Dec 18, 2011
    2
    This review contains spoilers, click expand 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.
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  4. Jul 3, 2012
    1
    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 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" Expand
  5. Dec 5, 2010
    5
    Billed as a horror movie, Joon-ho Bong's "The Host" is more of a farce, immersing itself in over-drama, wasting no time on suspense, and not even developing any type of setting. The acting is all over the place - take one instance when the family is mourning over the loss of the little girl (the hinging factor of the movie), and all of the actors transition instantly from mourning to just plain silliness, making the entire sequence ineffective. The monster itself, as awesome as it looks, doesn't even feel like a threat most of the time, which is a result of both bad writing and bad sound editing - bad writing because the entire city doesn't seem to worry about a colossal river creature eating and stealing humans, and bad sound editing because every time an action sequence begins, the volume of the soundtrack and effects drop significantly, which really kills the intensity of those moments. Expand
  6. Sep 19, 2010
    9
    Although the movie isn't too scared compared with other monster movies, The Host successsfully harmonizes the relations between the family and the environmental issues.
  7. May 25, 2012
    5
    It is not as exciting as I wanted it to be and it is not as scary as I would expected it to be. For the scary/horror genre, it is an average film.....
  8. Apr 12, 2012
    10
    To shamelessly appropriate and warp the catchphrase of a beloved cartoon character, The Host is smarter than the average monster movie. As is the case with all truly great monster films, the narrative isn't about the monster at all, not really, it only serves as a device to move the story along. Also, the creature itself does not present the real threat to our heroes, rather it stands in for a greater evil of society, in this case, the corruption of the Korean government and state-run institutions and the morally questionable invasive interference by the USA in Korean affairs. Writer/director Bong Joon-ho has not only created a smart and entertaining thriller, but a tender family drama and a rip-roaring comedy. The hilariously dysfunctional Park family are all great characters, and you can really empathise with their plight as they frantically search for their youngest, Hyun-seo (Ko Ah-seong) who has been taken by the monster. Son Kang-ho as always makes a compelling central protagonist, and makes the perpetually napping failure Gang-doo a comical but incredibly sympathetic character, and he is reunited with fellow regular Bong Joon-ho collaborators Byeon Hee-bong, Park Hae-il and Bae Doona playing the rest of the constantly bickering Park family. Their squabbles and ever-increasing desperation in failing to find Hyun-seo, though undeniably poignant, also provide plenty of opportunity for humour. Bong is a true master of black comedy, extremely skilled at getting a laugh out of the most unexpected situation - take, for instance the scene where the Parks gather around the shrine for the dead and missing post-monster attack. In most films, this scene would be a solemn one, but here Bong uses the family's extreme reaction to their plight, the unanimous blame of Gang-doo for the accidental loss of his daughter, and the insults the family trade with each other for their various shortcomings to provide the funniest moment of the film. It's a perfect balance of tone, of the dark and the light, of tragedy and comedy as the Park family clumsily grapple with each other in their hysteria and collapse, wailing on the floor in a heap. The more restrained, emotionally sensitive moments in the film are handled no less skillfully (particularly the lip-wobbling moment when the family patriarch Hee-bong finally opens up to his children and confesses how much he truly cares for his eldest son Gang-doo while said son is apparently fast asleep) and the action is thrilling, with the CGI holding up remarkably well considering the film's modest budget. Bong Joon-ho continually pushes boundaries and challenges filmmaking conventions, but never loses sight of what really matters - character, story and entertainment. You'd have to be a complete moron to dismiss The Host as just another dumb creature feature. It's incredibly intelligent, political, and despite its sci-fi trappings, it is grounded in believable human experience. Most directors, if they're lucky, will produce a single masterpiece in their career. Bong Joon-ho has thus-far only directed four feature films, and two of those - Memories of Murder and The Host, in my humble opinion, are masterpieces. Expand
  9. May 3, 2013
    9
    The Host is thrilling and scary for what is it going to do. Well what the monster is going to do to the place. O-O Amazing and Enjoyable The Host is the perfect thrilling pondering movie of intense.
  10. Oct 29, 2011
    5
    Franchement, je ne sais pas quoi penser de ce film. Pour sûr, il se démarque des banals films de monstre. En effet, le réalisateur a compris le véritable sens de ce genre de long-métrage, à savoir, critiquer à travers quelque chose de divertissant pour le jeune public. Et des enjeux politiques sur la Corée du Sud par rapport à la présence des troupes américaines, il y en a! Mais le problème, c'est que The Host n'a rien d'un divertissement quelconque. De ce fait, il fait fuir les adeptes du genre (souvent des adolescents) à cause de sa mise en scène vraiment spéciale et de sa bande son inadéquate. Reste des effets numériques plutôt satisfaisants pour un tel film (11 millions de dollars de budget) et des acteurs pas si mauvais. Mais à jouer avec la mise en scène en nous faisant oublier qu'il s'agit d'un film de monstre, le réalisateur perd franchement de son public. L'ennuie ne pointe pas le bout de son nez. Juste l'étonnement... Collapse
  11. Jan 4, 2014
    9
    Terrific film that succeeds on many levels; to judge it purely on its merits as a 'horror movie' or 'monter movie' would be to miss the point entirely. What sets 'the Host' apart from other films of its type (or any Hollywood film for that matter) is the rather idiosyncratic, oddball family presented to the viewer and the way it deftly incorporates dark humour and (credible) tenderness into proceedings. The scenes featuring the 'monster' don't disappoint, but the interstitial scenes not featuring the voracious, squid-like monstrosity (and there's a lot of them) are among the best moments in the film. The performances are spot-on, and the script is insightful, and oftentimes witty. 'The Host' is a film with an important underlying social commentary; a family drama pitched as a monster movie whose mishmash of ideas and genres make the film consistently engaging. Expand
  12. May 23, 2012
    9
    Boasting very strong visuals (thanks to Weta and Orphanage VSFX companies), The Host is one of the most unusual and jarring films I have seen in a long time.

    One second you will be wracked with emotion for the characters, deep despair...then the director pushes it a bit further and you wonder if the scene is a joke. Just when you are comfortable enough to assume that the scene in
    question is a joke and laugh at it, the director throws an emotional or terrifying curve-ball that instantly sobers you and induces a bit of guilt for even laughing at the cleverly constructed joke. This entire process happens many times during the film and can last anywhere from 10-20 seconds. The Host is filmmaking at its finest. No joke.
    Very few films can elicit genuine laughs without shattering the tension and integrity of the characters, and this is a VERY character centered movie. It is a sly combination of Little Miss Sunshine, Jaws, and Jurassic Park.

    I could keep drooling over how wonderful this film is but, honestly, what would that accomplish. There are two major flaws in this film:
    1) The Premise: How the creature comes to exist is terribly paper thin...we're talking 1950's comic book thin here. However, in the films defense, the plot uses the creature as a means to tell a powerful and compelling story through excellent and memorable characters...so the origin story doesn't actually amount to much. I would have been happy if they had just left it out entirely.

    2) The way the creature moves:
    When you first see the creature you will be disappointed. Promise. It gets better. I have analyzed the film to figure out why this shift from not believable to convincing (through the movie) exists and I can tell you this: it is not because of the graphics. They are beautiful start to finish. I think it is because when you first see the creature, it is hunting for the very first time and it moves super clumsy...like a toddler monster. We are not used to our cinema creatures being so inept so I think that throws western audiences off to begin with but, as mentioned, the film will quickly suck you back into the land of believability. Those were my only two complaints about the ENTIRE film.
    Really.
    Go see this today.
    Expand
  13. Aug 29, 2012
    10
    This movie takes a tired genre and makes it fresh again.The Host has a assort met off genre all mixed together but the main one is the giant monster genre though,This movie is a satire/dramedy/horror/movie monster/thriller and suspense.The acting in this film is amazing every actor feels right for the role in the get go, storyline isn't weak either it's start out simple than turns into a suspense thriller.The Special effects even though it might look not all that good but it works.Great epic story of how a overly worried problem helps a family come together for once. Expand
  14. Feb 2, 2013
    5
    'The Host' is a bad work of terror. It's entertaining but it's depressing to see all these pictures "dramatic". The monster is very poorly made ​​computer.
  15. Apr 29, 2014
    0
    One of the worst films I have ever seen. Not believable or thrilling in the least. The acting is so bad that it nixes the possibility of any suspension of disbelief. The film has no consistent tone and the characters are utterly ridiculous.
  16. Mar 15, 2014
    9
    Amo veramente questo regista, anche in un moster movie riesce a tenere acceso il cervello. Regia e fotografia impeccabile, ottimo ritmo, bravissimi attori. Si riescono anche ad affrontare molte tematiche come la stupidità dei governi, la costante presente dell'esercito americano, l'inquinamento e molti altri. Un bellissimo film per un regista che comincia anche a farsi conoscere, FINALMENTE, anche in occidente. Expand
Metascore
85

Universal acclaim - based on 35 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 34 out of 35
  2. Negative: 0 out of 35
  1. Reviewed by: Glenn Kenny
    88
    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.
  2. Reviewed by: Elizabeth Kerr
    70
    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.
  3. Reviewed by: Derek Elley
    80
    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.