Screened as part of NZIFF 2006
Fresh from wowing audiences at the Cannes Film Festival and better late than never, comes the perfect closer for this year’s ‘That’s Incredible Cinema’ programme. The juries may have been looking the other way, but there were plenty on the Croisette who considered this and Shortbus the standouts. Evoking echoes of Godzilla and the biological horrors of early David Cronenberg with B-movie zest, The Host is the kind of full-bodied horror show, both scary and hilarious, that so many filmmakers strive to generate without ever quite succeeding.
“Directed by Bong Joon-ho, who made the policier Memories of Murder, this terrific hybrid-genre fantasy about a mutant creature with a lotuslike mouth and a steady appetite has been alternately described as a monster movie and a science fiction thriller, but is also a comedy, a family drama, a political critique and, at times, a seriously scary freak-out. Mr Bong can shift moods and tones on a dime, and when the loudly appreciative audience wasn’t laughing at the witty dialogue it was shrieking at tensely wound scenes as effective as any in Steven Spielberg’s War of the Worlds.” — Manohla Dargis, NY Times
“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, [this] much-hyped big-budgeter about a huge mutant tadpole that emerges from Seoul’s Han River is a bold gamble that looks headed to instant cult status.” — Derek Elley, Variety