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In the past if you talked about East Asian films you would pretty much be talking about Hong Kong films, the likes of The Killer, Boiling Point and Infernal Affairs. In the last couple of years though this has changed, another country has started producing high quality films that are very original and different. This started for me with Old Boy, a striking film of revenge that was unlike anything I had seen before, if you’ve never seen it, you realy need to. This was the second park of a trilogy of films about revenge by director Park Chan Wook, the first part being Sympathy For Mr Vengeance and then the final part Sympathy For Lady Vengeance, which was almost as shocking as Old Boy. As well as this genre, Korean film makers have also branched off in to other types of films, including the film Tae Guk Gi (Brotherhood), which looked at the Korean War. Now they have entered a genre that first started in Japan with the Godzilla films and ended with Jurassic Park, yes the monster movie!

  The Host from director Bong Joon Ho, tells the story of one family’s battle to save their daughter from a monster that has arisen from the Hang River. The film starts with an American scientist ordering his assistant to pour tons of Formaldyhyde into the sewers. Flash forward and something has mutated and grown into a monster newt thing. It makes it’s first appearance and runs amok killing the fleeing people and taking schoolgirl Hyun Seo with it. From then on the family take it upon themselves to find her, but are hindered by a government that want to cover it up, using a virus as a smoke screen. In your typical Hollywood movie we would now have commandos with every weapon under the sun hunting it down, but this is where the Koreans do it differently. Instead we follow the family, making it a small dramatic piece, where you feel for the family, as they frantically try to find her not knowing if she is dead or alive. Also the film has a lot of humour in it, from slapstick to put downs, with a great cast making you believe in them. Like Jaws the film doesn’t rely on showing the monster at every opportunity, but when it does it’s actually quiet impressive, without the huge budgets of Hollywood the monster could have looked terrible, but they have manged to make a creature that is pretty scary, and quiet original.

By doing it differently the Koreans have created a great monster movie, though a creature feature with a soul. If you like a good beast flick then it’s probably worth a rent when the dvd is realised next month, or if you can’t wait you can get the region 3 dvd from www.cd-wow.com for 8.99.  See it before the Americans remake and sanitise it! Rating 7/10

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