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Body Snatching Revisited – A review of The Host
Summary: Author Stephanie Meyer may well become the queen of the teen love triangle. The story is solid and the acting is fantastic. 2013’s first must-see movie.
When I first saw the previews for this movie, the one thing that popped into my head is that this was a redo of the classic science fiction movie Invasion of the Body Snatchers, a concept that has already been remade several times.
I was pleasantly surprised to see a movie that was actually far better than anticipated. There’s a compelling story that goes much deeper than the simple body grabbing that made the classic movie so terrifying all those years ago.
Saoirse Ronin (The Lovely Bones) heads the cast list playing young teenager Melanie. In her world, human hosts play second fiddle to these invading creatures who can control every facet of the hosts’ bodies once they are placed inside. The ‘Soul’ then supersedes the personality of the host.
However some hosts fight back, as is the case with Melanie. She refuses to allow Wanda, the nickname given her ‘soul’, free reign over her future.
Melanie has fallen in love with another human survivor named Jared, but complicating matters is the love triangle formed when another boy named Ian falls in love with Wanda. It’s actually entertaining to see Melanie fighting with herself to protect each of the relationships.
Ronin is an accomplished actress and in lesser hands, the duality of the personality might not shine through as endearingly as Ronin presents. We can feel Melanie’s pain and frustration as she struggles to assert her will on her body’s co-inhabitant.
William Hurt also makes a welcome appearance as Jeb, Melanie’s uncle who also heads a human resistance faction that has managed to evade the souls by taking refuge in the New Mexico mountain caves. Hurt is the first of the human characters to open up to and aid Melanie. His kind demeanor is a welcome change from the rest of the humans who just want to slaughter Melanie in the belief that she will eventually betray them to the seekers.
Stephanie Meyer, who previously created the Twilight series, has created a wonderful litany of characters and a unique love triangle (which one could almost call a quartet).
Diane Kruger is chillingly relentless in her pursuit of young Melanie, hoping to glean info from her on the location of other humans Her ulterior motives may turn out to completely change the pursuit parameters, though, once the humans are found.
Overall, though, The Host is a riveting drama that deserves to be viewed without prejudgment. You might be surprised at how well everything comes together. I give it 4 out of 5 stars.