At its simplest, 'The Host' is a creature feature about a giant killer tadpole. Though filmmaker Bong Joon-ho might swear up and down otherwise -- because, let's face it, killer tadpoles don't sound very menacing -- his monster slips into and out of the water with its bulbous body, long, dexterous tail and legs ready to run. It's a tadpole who drinks gas like it's Red Bull, and was bred out of the dangerous toxins poured into the Han River on the orders of an illogical military clean freak.

In fact, any casual commentary on the film makes it sound utterly ridiculous and perhaps even inconsequential, never standing up to the Frankensteins and creatures from the black lagoon. If anything, the Korean film seems like it should shoulder its lot in life alongside killer tomatoes. But there's a magic to 'The Host' and how it weaves in and out of heart and black humor, ridiculous loserdom and political commentary. How chilling scenes of bloody hands desperately trying to open a chained door are intermingled with our hero thinking that running through toxins will cleanse himself.

'The Host' might seem a little manic and disjointed, but it's got this irresistible fire that hugs the world of creature features and squeezes out a perfectly fresh hybrid.
categories Columns, Horror, Cinematical