The best Korean horror movies – The Host (2006)
In 2006, South Korean director Bong Joon-ho released a creature feature film that would go on to become a global sensation – The Host. The film follows a family’s desperate attempt to save their daughter from a terrifying monster that emerges from the Han River in Seoul.
The Host boasts an impressive cast, including Song Kang-ho as the father, Park Hae-il as the son, Bae Doona as the daughter’s aunt and Go Ah-sung as the daughter. Song Kang-ho is a prolific actor in Korean cinema, having appeared in several of Bong Joon-ho’s films, including Memories of Murder and Parasite. Bae Doona and Go Ah-sung are also well-known actresses in Korea and their performances in The Host are standout.
The story of The Host begins with a seemingly harmless act of carelessness – a US military doctor orders a Korean subordinate to dump formaldehyde into the Han River. Years later, a monstrous creature emerges from the river, terrorizing the people of Seoul and abducting the young daughter of the film’s central family.
The Host’s plot deftly balances horror, comedy and social commentary, with Bong Joon-ho using the monster as a metaphor for societal issues such as pollution and government negligence. The film also subverts genre expectations, with the family’s dynamic and interpersonal relationships taking center stage in the narrative.
Visually, The Host is a feast for the eyes, with stunning creature design and dynamic action sequences. The film’s use of CGI is impressive and the monster is both terrifying and oddly sympathetic.
The Host was a critical and commercial success, both in Korea and internationally. It won several awards, including Best Film at the Asian Film Awards and Best Supporting Actress for Go Ah-sung at the Korean Film Awards. The film’s success paved the way for the international recognition of Korean cinema and Bong Joon-ho went on to direct other acclaimed films such as Snowpiercer and Parasite.
In conclusion, The Host is a standout film in the horror genre, with a unique story, strong performances and impressive visuals. Its social commentary and subversion of genre tropes make it a must-see for any film lover, not just horror fans. The Host remains a highlight of Korean cinema and a testament to the talent of Bong Joon-ho and his cast and crew.