The Host: Movie Review

Review: As if the film’s theme and trailer are not enough to make you want to roll your eyes and giggle, `The Host’ begins on a creepy note with close-up shots of blue-eyed humans who have been taken over by an `external species`.  Barely minutes into the film and you can’t help wondering if Stephenie Meyer herself was occupied by a ‘host ‘ while writing this novel. To add salt to injury, you’re anyway saturated by the umpteen films being made about the end of the world and the human race nearing extinction, but this film has a larger problem and that is its highly ambiguous genre. There are times you feel like you’re watching a teenybopper romance and others when you feel like you’re watching a fantasy flick. One thing is certain, the film will primarily appeal to teenagers and Stephenie Meyer fans or perhaps fans of the fantasy genre. However, there’s no guarantee that if you’ve liked the Twilight series, you’ll like `The Host`. Yes, that’s precisely how disastrous the film is.

Getting to the story of ` The Host`, the world has been colonized by an unseen enemy/external species refer red to as Souls who occupy human minds. A team among the Souls led by the Seeker (Diane Kruger) are on a manhunt for the remaining humans who still haven’t been captured, (possessed if you ask me, read on to discover why I use the word possessed). In order to extract information about the other missing humans, the Seeker interrogates The Wanderer (The name of the Soul that has taken over Saoirse Ronan’s character who was known as Melanie Stryder before the Wanderer occupied her) but before that Melanie manages to find her loved ones. Upon finding them what ensues is nothing short of a dramatic saga with Melanie’s loved ones doubting her motives and accusing her as being one of The Souls. We also have a love triangle that’s constantly brewing which I mustn’t spoil for those who’re keen to catch this potboiler of a romantic fantasy drama! Of course, the love triangle can be attributed to Melanie Stryder’s identity crisis between her and the Wanderer. The poor little thing is constantly torn between the Wanderer’s voice and Melanie’s voice. Unfortunately, this film isn’t a psychological-drama so the last thing you want is to hear are Melanie and The Wanderer caught in a heated argument. Pssst: The Wanderer screeches, (yes, if only I could stuff my ears with cotton or if this was a silent film, I’d perhaps generously rate The Host).  Sadly , it is not. Despite having a fairly unpredictable screenplay, the dialogues can make you want to flee out of the theater, lines like "You don’t know what I’ve been through to find you" are plenty! I hate to burst your bubble but such romances don’t exist in real life, only in reel life! The background score and visuals are alright but nothing spectacular.
The problem is the original work itself, i.e . the novel is flawed and how! Even `The Twilight Saga` seems far better in comparison. The performances are below average and it feels like the actors have parroted their dialogues. Saoirse Ronan who moved you with her performance in `The Lovely Bones` will make you want to cry out blue murder when she bears the blank expression on her face throughout the film. William Hurt as Jeb manages to play his role well but alas, his part is too small. Max Irons as Jared only looks the part but can’t emote to save his life! More so, one wonders what Andrew Niccol of `In Time` and `Gattaca` fame was thinking when he decided to adapt this convoluted novel into a film. Apart from its complicated structure one wonders if Mrs Meyer has even bothered to consider the impact her work has on the minds of naive teenagers? I too believe in true love but letting them believe that infidelity can be justified, is like taking things a little too far? One can’t really blame Andrew Niccol for his experiments… can we?
Kanika Rajani

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