Bong has pulled together a multilayered horror-drama that works more often than not. The film gets back on track after a clumsy middle section that's too long and finishes strong, and Bong fans, horror fans and Asiaphiles are likely to be thoroughly satisfied.
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A thrilling ride and a sometimes dry, sometimes sweet comedy, but beneath all that is a humane and tragic view of life worthy of the greatest films. Even those without rubber monsters.
The Host packs a lot into its two tumultuous hours: lyrically disgusting special effects, hair-raising chases, outlandish political satire, and best of all, a dysfunctional-family psychodrama--an odyssey that's like a grisly reworking of "Little Miss Sunshine."
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.
The Host is a miracle of breathless play with form and tone that also seethes with attitude and ideas, from pure movie love to pointed sociopolitical commentary to a bleak existentialism about the inherent cruelty of our world.
When the movie isn't being scary, it's crazily funny, so much so that critical watchers will wonder if Bong might tilt the balance of the picture too far in a comic direction and water down the scares. He doesn't.
Gross-out horror is never far from comedy and The Host, Bong Joon-ho's giddy creature feature, has an anarchic mess factor worthy of a pile of old "Mad" magazines.
Bong Joon-ho's wildly entertaining saga should become the hip, thinking-person's monster movie of choice.
The tone of The Host is slippery in the best way; you're never sure if you're in for a joke or a shock, yet nothing feels random.
A cross between "Godzilla" and "Jaws," it manages to be both truly scary and truly funny – sometimes all at once.