Niagara Gazette

Night & Day

April 2, 2013

CALLERI: Welcome to the world of friendly parasites in 'The Host'


Niagara Gazette — In science fiction literature, the promise is that when parasites enter humans, bad things are going to happen. In “The Host,” the alien parasitic race, known as the Souls, are all about love and harmony. Forget any kind of misunderstanding. These are happy hosts. Do-gooders. Peaceniks that would embarrass the most hidebound hippies. However, they do get a little bit riled up if an earthling escapes their mind-altering tentacles.

The film lacks originality because we are back in the world of three pretty young things being shadowed by forces they might as well accept. At the start of the movie, Melanie (also known as Wanda or the Wanderer) hasn’t been bitten by the bug of joviality. For some reason, she has escaped the parasitic onslaught, but this will soon change. Her horny, but good-natured friends, Ian and Jake, both poster boys for a successful hair and make-up department, will struggle with loving Wanda’s mind, but not her body. They know about secret hideouts where the possessed can fight the parasites and even throw off the cloak of forced niceness.

Meanwhile, Melanie’s wise Uncle Jeb has his own take on things. Tossed-in for comic relief is Jared’s younger brother Jamie. Overseeing all of this is the Seeker, a female parasitic enforcer determined to make sure that meanness, poverty, illness, crime, political corruption, and air pollution are dispensed with, that they become forgotten shadows to the humans she controls.

Of course, erasing minds means personalities go out the window. Do you know how personality traits enhance a movie? They create drama. You won’t find much drama in “The Host.” It’s like watching a room full of far too mellow stoners. The film makes you want to dissolve uppers in everyone’s bong water.

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