Review: The Host

In a post-Twilight world, can another story from its author take up the mantel and create a new saga that will be loved by millions?

Max Parker

The ‘hosts’ have taken over. Most of the world’s population has been infiltrated, changed into an unknown alien race. A small group of freedom fighters lead the resistance but their priorities are tested when one of their own becomes infected.

Strong lead

The Host is a simple premise and hardly original. Adapted from Stephenie Meyer’s novel, it lacks enough content to fill a 90-minute film, let alone a book.

Saoirse Ronan (Hanna) impresses as lead Wanda/Melanie, and it is a good job she does so, because she has to carry the film on her own for long stretches at a time. Due to the fact that her body is inhabited by two souls, it is often the case that she is narrating, while speaking as her character at the same time. It is odd at first, but eventually audiences will get used to it.

Broody men in a cave

After an effective introduction which kicks proceedings off in a fast-paced manner, things slow right down, almost to a halt. The middle act is drawn out, with very little of note happening, apart from broody men huffing around a cave in the American desert.

Other than Ronan, the rest of the cast is forgettable. Both Max Irons and Jake Abel barely do anything, and they get lost in the mix of similar looking characters. They look sullen-faced throughout, and the scenes of romance lack chemistry and characterisation to make it memorable.

To be fair to Irons (son of well known British actor Jeremy Irons) and Abel, their characters are given little depth and are barely built up. It’s a shame, but there is just no emotional attachment whatsoever.

Odd multi-soul love triangle

Diane Kruger (Unknown) is mildly threatening as the ‘Seeker’, the lead alien hunting the rebels, but again the lack of a strong character just means there is little interest in her outcome.

An odd multi-soul love triangle, which adds the romantic element, is strange and confusing. Two guys who fall for one girl who has two souls inside her? Needless.

Impressive settings underused

The sad thing is that the settings and backstory are quite interesting; the aliens have a feel of something from the TV programme V, all sickly sweet on the outside and evil at the core. The environments are either stark white with metal walls and glass, or bare deserts. Both look good aesthetically, but not enough time is spent exploring them.

Overall, The Host has some nice touches, including precise camera work, a variety of editing displays and a really strong performance from Ronan. Despite what it set itself up for, it lacks a story and a strong supporting cast. If the producers were looking for the next Twilight, then they better keep looking.

The Host is released in cinemas March 29.

Rating: 5/10

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