The Host is proof that a great concept won’t work when saddled with a bad plot and annoying characters.
Granted, I’m not the target audience for a YA movie with a romantic subplot based on a book by Twilight’s Stephenie Meyer. But the premise sounded intriguing: the human race is taken over by alien body snatchers that obliterate the host human consciousness. Think of this as a more literal Invasion of the Body Snatchers than the original movie(s), which were all great, but should have been called Invasion of the Body Copiers.
I watched The Host solely for that premise, and that was the only good thing I can say about it.
The plot: Human holdout Melanie Stryder (played by Saoirse Ronan) is captured and taken over by an alien called “Wanderer” (that name was the first warning sign of trouble ahead). But Melanie manages to hold on. Melanie/Wanderer seek out her fellow human holdouts, trailed by a Seeker (the unbelievably beautiful Diane Kruger) who is determined to wipe them out.
The Host ends up turning into a weird love quadrangle. Melanie/Wanderer reunite with Melanie’s boyfriend Jared, and Wanderer falls in love with some guy named Ian.
How can true love work out if Melanie/Wanderer share the same body? I didn’t really care, because I never bought it. The love story was not developed, it was unrealistic, and the tension felt manufactured.
The rest of The Host was clunky as well. Great actors like William Hurt had little to do, because nothing really exciting or unpredictable happened. Saoirse Ronan is usually a phenomenal actor, but she couldn’t do much in this part. If you want to see her shine in an action flick, watch the surreal Hanna.
The worst part of the movie? Melanie’s voiceover. Since Wanderer had active control, she spoke through the body. Melanie spoke through thoughts, which we heard as a voiceover. Very early on I was wishing that Wanderer had indeed obliterated Melanie. That’s not a good sign.
All of this is a shame, because, like I said, the premise is great. But The Host is bad, and not even in the “so bad it’s good” sense. You’ve been warned: watch The Host at your own risk.