The ability to discover a movie is rare in these days of endless and relentless buzz and hype. We're essentially told what whe should look forward to. So it's a distinct treat - and privilege - when a movie sneaks up on us. And that's the exact case with South Korean filmmaker Bong Joon-ho's "The Host"/"Gwoemul," a nifty, old-fashioned monster flick about, well, the unspeakable. To get to the point, "The Host" is a drop-dead hit.
Made with B-movie cunning and a keen appreciation of every natural-and-unnatural thriller that came before it - from Spielberg's "Jaws" to Honda's "Gojira" ("Godzilla") - Joon-ho's "The Host" doesn't play fair but rather confronts us with primal moments, both queasily comical and cruelly frightening, involving something hellish from the deep, a mutant tadpole or whatever. And the film, like its beast, explodes on screen with the vigor and brightness of a Jovian meteor. Made with extraordinary intelligence and style and surprising flashes of humor, "The Host" in the end is spellbinding, a sneaky celebration of what movies are supposed to be all about. By all means, treat yourself.
(Artwork: Bae Doo-na faces the worst in a scene from Magnolia Picture's "The Host"/"Gwoemul")
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