Sunday, January 18, 2015

The Host/Gwoemul (2006)

Note:  This review was originally posted to my Epinions account.

The movie starts with one doctor telling another to dump formaldehyde down the drain.  The main plot of the movie is about a monster, presumably created by said chemical.  Park Gang-du works as a clerk selling food in the park with his father.  His sister, Nam-joo, is an Olympic archer.  He and his daughter, Hyun-seo, take a break watch her on TV.  Shortly thereafter, the monster starts attacking people in the park.  It even takes Hyun-seo in such a way that she’s ostensibly been killed.

Nam-joo even comes back.  As the family is grieving for the dead, the government moves in to quarantine everyone from the park, saying that there’s a risk of a virus.  Suddenly, Gang-du gets a call from Hyun-seo.  No one else is able to confirm this, so his immediate family thinks that he’s hallucinating.  Without a body to bury, it’s understandable that Gang-du would say something like this.  (He’s not the brightest to begin with.)  All Gang-du knows is that he has to get out of quarantine and save his daughter.

This movie had been recommended to me.  It took me a while to rent it, as is usually the case with movies that I rent on NetFlix.  Being that it’s a South Korean movie, there are aspects that I don’t understand, especially considering that it was intended partly as a political commentary.  Yes, pollution and its aftereffects are not unique to any one country, but I felt like I was missing out on a few things.  I’m not even sure how much I was missing out on.

There are a lot of issues that are relatable, though, such as presumably losing a child only to think they may still be alive.  Gang-du is guilt stricken at not having been able to help his daughter.  It doesn’t help that people are condescending.  The grandfather is the only one that can relate to this and defends Gang-du’s actions.  Gang-du tends to sleep a lot, but it’s because of a medical condition.  He’s very dedicated to his daughter, which is something his siblings could learn from.

The subtitles were a little distracting, but not nearly as distracting  as the dub.  I started watching it with the dub and had to switch after a few minutes.  Overall, the movie comes across a little too silly to be a real horror movie but is also violent or moving enough at times to let you know it’s a serious movie.  The entire family comes together to rescue the girl.  I don’t want to say anything else for fear of ruining the movie.  I do recommend watching it. 


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