The Host (15) <!-- none onestar twostar threestar fourstar fivestar -->

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Having broken box-office records in its native South Korea, Bong Joon-Ho's monster movie arrives here with surprisingly little fanfare. This might be because it's a difficult one to market. Just as Bong's previous Memories of Murder crossbred a murder investigation with slapstick comedy, The Host intermingles rock-bottom realism with the flyaway absurdities of a gigantic mutant tadpole causing terror and mayhem along the riverfront. And take a look at the film's notional hero: this isn't some muscled superman or revered scientist but an overweight slob whose first instinct is to attack the creature with a traffic sign. He then mobilises the rest of his family in the struggle to survive.

In truth, its scary moments are few and the special effects look tinny (deliberately?), but its sheer unlikeliness compels the gaze.