Friday, May 05, 2017

The Host

It is a good movie!

If “The Host” has only continued to grow into its role as the defining monster movie of the 21st Century, it’s not because of the film’s conspiratorial flair or its digs at the media, it’s because it’s the only recent monster movie that doesn’t feel like a metaphor for something else. Sometimes, the danger really is that obvious. Sometimes — if I can indulge in a crazy what-if scenario, here — a racist President who promises to shit on the Constitution, violate the Emoluments clause, strip people of their rights (and their healthcare), and run the world’s most stable democracy like an autocratic family business isn’t just one side of an argument, but rather a clear and present danger that’s coming for you and the ones you love. Hypothetically. Sometimes a bipedal fish nightmare modeled after Steve Buscemi is just a bipedal fish nightmare modeled after Steve Buscemi.

As the film makes viscerally clear during the long slo-mo shots that define the incredible scene where its creature runs along the riverbanks and stuffs random people into its maw, the hardest part about surviving something so extreme is recognizing that it’s real and responding in kind. The world may be a more cynical place than ever, but our relative stability has made it difficult for people to believe in monsters, or to be prepared to retaliate against them when they emerge from the darkness fully formed. It hardly matters that the creature in “The Host” doesn’t look as impressive as it used to, it only matters that we see it for what it is. Because how the hell else are we supposed to fight back?