Critique of the “The Host”, an unintentionally hilarious alien soap opera

By Hanna Hadzihasanovic

Against my better judgement and knowledge of the disappointing Twilight series , I was convinced by my friends to go see ‘The Host’, a sci-fi flick based on Stephenie Meyer’s book of the same title. I had previously read the book a couple of years ago, due to my adoration of science fiction, and I was relatively pleased with the novel. However, upon seeing the trailer, I was somewhat reluctant to see the film. Had I listened to my gut instinct, I would not have wasted 125 minutes in a theatre filled with giggling pre-teens.

Here’s how I was fooled into seeing this film: Trailers are known to be deceiving, and often times, trailers and movies differ in excitement. The Host is displayed as an action filled alien vs. human battle with limited romance; the focus being the apocalyptic future and the remaining human survivors. The movie itself can be classified as the exact opposite; it is a silly alien soap opera with limited emphasis on action. At best, it is unintentionally hilarious.

The movie is set somewhere in the future, where an alien species has invaded earth and its inhabitants by entering human bodies and taking over the consciousness of their hosts. Melanie (Saoirse Ronan), her little brother and Melanie’s boyfriend Jared (Max Irons) try to live a normal life while hiding from the aliens. Melanie is captured and an alien soul is implanted. Melanie’s soul survives and her and the alien (named Wanderer) become mental roommates. Eventually, Melanie leads Wanderer to the remaining human survivors, and the story continues from there.

Here’s where it all went wrong; the ideas in the book are fairly interesting but the delivery was awful. Instead of focusing on the alien invasion, the new social structures of society, the human conditions of survival, the film focuses entirely on a weird love triangle with constant awkward make-out sessions, no doubt placed to attract young teenagers (and fans of the Twilight Saga). Meyer is much more interested in the conditions of teenage love in uncertain settings, with a ton of cross-species love-making thrown in that echoes her Twilight series. Many of the lines that may have worked in the book were awkward and forced when spoken aloud. Additionally, Melanie’s voice was projected as a voice-over, something that worked in the book but failed miserably on screen. The music was cheesy and was obviously there to intensify the romance. The camera angles and quality were incredibly overdone, and instead of using interesting shaky shots the film didn’t attempt to hide its big budget. Ronan’s performance was decent, especially considering she had to play two clashing roles at the same time, and not burst out laughing while saying her lines.

This movie could have dealt with many interesting science fiction ideas, like alien human interaction, human perserverance, sacrifice, and instead, it is an obvious big-budget entertainment film there to attract hormonal teenagers. In short as puts it; “The story involves Alien squiggly bits that after an interstellar journey get implanted into the necks of the human race, resulting in glowing eyes and a fascination with chroming (i.e., covered in shiny metal) vehicles. A ragtag band of humans with a proclivity of making out during a rainstorm, yet still being chaste enough to avoid hitting to the proverbial first base, are shown in a kind of existential battle. Hiding out in a dormant volcano, we see them going on daring missions, stealing supplies from what to any Canadian looks like a No-Frills that mated with an IKEA”.

The Host is nothing to write home about. So save your cash. Or don’t, but don’t say I didn’t warn you.

2/5 stars.