By Leah Rozen Rennie Dyball Lesley Messer
March 19, 2007 12:00 PM

Kang-ho Song, A-sung Ko


Here’s a knockout monster movie for both horror fans and moviegoers who usually avoid such fare. A South Korean import, The Host is a hoot, combining suspense, dynamic action scenes, laughs and totally cool special effects as it chronicles a family’s fight to save a 13-year-old girl from a gargantuan, rampaging river creature. Written and directed by Joon-ho Bong (Memories of Murder), the film was a box office sensation in its home country, and an American remake of Host is being planned. But don’t miss a chance to catch the original.

The acrobatic, amphibious monster (created using a combination of models and CGI) terrorizing Seoul is a slimy brown creature resembling a giant deformed tadpole with stubby legs. It can race along land, torpedo through the Han River and whip across bridges, swinging like Tarzan from one span to the next using its tail. When it grabs adorable little Hyun-seo (Ko), her seemingly simple father (Song), his siblings and even Grandpa all blast into action to save the plucky child after she calls on a cell phone to report that she’s still alive, very scared and stuck in the monster’s underground lair. What happens next is a battle of wits between her would-be saviors and the creature. The result: a whopping fish tale to be savored. (R)