A monster emerges from Seoul's Han River and begins attacking people. One victim's loving family does what it can to rescue her from its clutches.A monster emerges from Seoul's Han River and begins attacking people. One victim's loving family does what it can to rescue her from its clutches.A monster emerges from Seoul's Han River and begins attacking people. One victim's loving family does what it can to rescue her from its clutches.
Parkgoers quickly gather to gape at the mysterious something. They ooh and aah when the great beast slides into to water and eases its way over to the shallows, idling just beneath the surface. No one senses any cause for alarm. They lean closer and toss snacks into the river, as if it's a cute family of ducks.
But ducks don't have teeth like this thing.
The crowd erupts into panic as the monster reveals its lethal force and ravenous appetite. Among the crowd scurrying for their lives are an old food shack owner, his young granddaughter, and her dad. The dad displays his bravery by facing the monster, but he also displays also his imperfections by... well, I won't spoil that part.
Director and writer Bong Joon Ho cleverly details the family's dysfunction through subtle dialogue before the monster chase and in the aftermath. This family is a ragtag group without much clue about what to do, but they are nevertheless relatable and easy to root for.
Though the horror aspect is feature most prominently, the film contains layers beneath the surface for those interested in further examination. Bong Joon Ho manages to weave together elements of a family comedy, social satire, environmental conservation, and of course, a monster horror movie.
This is unequivocally Bong's movie. He expertly directs chase scenes with thrilling camera movements and engrossing framing choices that make you lean forward in your seat with excitement while you also partially cover your eyes in fear. It's a fascinating paradox.
In quieter moments, Bong unveils a novel's worth of background information through a few purposeful conversations between characters. Listen closely or you'll miss important details and have to watch the movie again. You'll probably want to anyway.
- Nov 2, 2019