“The Host” (Gwoemul; 괴물) is a Korean movie which broke the record of highest grossing South Korean film of all time in 2006.

Themed as a monster movie, The Host offers a lot more than horror; in fact it hardly qualified as a horror movie… as it combines comedy, dark humor, suspense, action and just a bit of horror that was enough to scare kindergarten kids.

The movie was directed by Bong Joon-ho; and starred Song Kang-ho, Byun Hee-bong, Park Hae-il, Bae Du-na and Ko Ah-seong etc.

The Host Synopsis

Year 2000, a US researcher commanded his Korean assistant to dispose formaldehyde down the drain and into Seoul’s Han River (based on a real incident, the rest is fiction obviously).

Poster for Korean movie - The Host
The Host

The story then shifted to present with the Park family. Park Hee-bong was the old father, who made a living with his eldest (and a bit useless) son Gang-du selling groceries near the Han River. Hyun-seo was Gang-du’s daughter and stayed with her father and grandfather.

Then a monster appeared from the Han River, killing people and dragging people into the river. Gang-du showed some heroic act to save others, but could not save his daughter Hyun-seo from being grabbed by the monster.

Hee-bong and Gang-du thought that Hyun-seo was dead, and the news spread to Nam-joo and Nam-il, Gang-du’s younger sister and brother. Then came the surprise, as Gang-du received a phone call from Hyun-seo calling for help… she was still alive.

Gang-du and family tried to get assistance from Korean military to save Hyun-seo, but the government officials thought that Gang-du was hallucinating, and quarantined him fearing that he might be infected with some diseases caused by his close contact with the monster.

Gang-du and family had to escape from the military and pursue the monster themselves to save Hyun-seo…

The best selling point of the movie is perhaps on the unpredictability; it surprised me again and again with its plots when I first watch the movie. Another factor for its record-breaking in Korea was the teasing towards the Korean and US government; non-Koreans might not have the rapport though, but it was still a very good movie… a must watch if you ask me.


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