It's not wise to dump gallons of formaldehyde into a river -- who knows what genetic deformity might pop up decades later? South Korea finds out in this truly incredible monster flick.
As much a tongue-in-cheek homage to the Godzilla, Rodan and Gamera daikaiju films as it is a straight-up, full-throttle sci-fi actioner, The Host follows the destruction caused by a giant, multi-legged, mutated aquatic beast who rises from the depths of the mighty Han River and lands right in the middle of a crowd of innocents enjoying the riverside. White-knuckle chaos reigns as the beast chomps mightily on his new prey, only ending when it slinks back to the water with a small girl in its grasp. Convinced that she's still alive, her dysfunctional family fights terrible odds to find her, including a government claiming that the creature hosts a deadly virus. Like Godzilla before it, The Host is most definitely a commentary on man's self-destructive habits. The creature's existence stems from our hands. Moralizations aside, the film is a helluva a lot of fun. Laughs are squeezed even from the bloodiest kill. The dark humor balances the tension perfectly, creating a false ease that is always smashed by the fast flash of quickly approaching, razor-sharp teeth. (PM) Grade: A