Halloween Endurance Test: the Host (2006)

I’ve been on the fence about whether to include this film or not. I’ve heard glowing reviews from “my converts.” The two people: my brother (who bought me this copy) and my best friend, had, growing up, to be convinced of the merits of bad movies.

Neither of them would believe me on just how awesome Escape from New York is until I forced my brother to watch a not-edited-for-television version. My best friend only watched comedies and horrid action movies. (He had a Last Action Hero poster on his wall for way too long.) It wouldn’t be until “the incident” with him that our distinct cinematic tastes would start to converge. This film, however, made me wonder what kind of monster(s) had I created?

I think, here, it’s all the CGI that ruins it for me. I understand why, if one were to make a modern-day monster movie, they utilized CGI. This understanding does not bring acceptance though. Sure the two-headed mutant-boy from the Funhouse wasn’t really scary. Even in the moment it was hard to buy into him. His murderous father/keeper was totally believable; even if he was only a Greek-looking carny.

I’ve gone on numerous times about the visual lameness of CGI blood (here and here). It just doesn’t look real. Compounding the issue here is the fact that barely anyone dies in the movie. During the monster’s first riverside rampage, only a handful of people get eaten.

The film’s main drive: a drunken, layabout father’s search for his missing daughter loses its appeal since you never truly believe that the girl is dead. She’s just missing. She doesn’t even spend the movie in the belly of the beast! Instead camping out in a modern version of Attack of the Giant Leeches air-filled, underwater caves.

In fact, there’s little difference between the two films. Instead of an army of giant leeches, there’s just one giant monster of indeterminate origins. Rather then deny the monster, in the Host, the government does believe in it, but are ineffectual in containing it. This film is also twice as long as the original. Equalling, for you, the reader/viewer, twice as many topical references that’ll make no sense in 10-20 years.

Most damning is the entire extraneous government subplot, which drags on for 45+ minutes before the final insult; there’s no virus. Making the subplot worthless except for a few “laughs” (if you want to call them that) provided by the Korean version of Get a Life‘s Chris Peterson.

Not to mention they spend an hour looking for the monster. Only to have said monster show up at a demonstration in the end. Meaning any editor, good or bad, could/would/should have cut out all the extra fluff. Just because you can shoot 80 minutes of horrid, unfunny subplots doesn’t mean you should.

A monster movie for people who don’t understand monster movies.


4 Responses to “Halloween Endurance Test: the Host (2006)”

  1. Tim's brother Says:

    I thought of it as more of an allegory to something like the bird flu panic than an actual horror movie.

    • True, but it does have a quote putting it up with _Jaws_ on the box. There is the whole government/disease/pandemic subplot, but it never really comes together for me. It plays as a string of disconnected incidents, never really linking into a plot.

  2. After all the bally-hoo I heard about THE HOST – I watched it and felt exactly the same way you did… Could’ve been more – but wasn’t.

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