Stop the infection, ‘The Host’ must die

Photo from Screen Crush.

Photo from Screen Crush.

This has got to end.

We must stop Stephenie Meyer and her reign of terror in the YA world. If “The Twilight Saga” wasn’t enough for you, “The Host” will be the final straw. It is a film of absolutely no worth based on a book of absolutely no worth that was written by an author with no talent, and was directed by Andrew Niccol (“The Truman Show,” “Gattaca”), who, while talented, cannot salvage the utter worthlessness of the novel.

Melanie Stryder (Saoirse Ronan) lives in a world taken over by (supposedly) benevolent aliens called Souls that possess the bodies of humans to survive. Melanie nearly dies after falling out a very high window in an escape attempt (but her beauty isn’t tarnished, heaven forbid we have a heroine who isn’t absolutely beautiful) and somehow barely survives, allowing the Souls to implant one of their own into her.

Max Irons, Jake Abel, and Saoirse Ronan in The Host (2013) Movie Image

Oh, look: it’s Bland Hunks number 1 and 2. Can you tell the difference, because we sure can’t. Photo from beyondhollywood.

The new Soul, stupidly named Wanderer, is shocked to discover that Melanie did not magically disappear after the implanting process, instead manifesting herself as a very silly voiceover. After a poorly plotted series of events, Melanie and Wanderer escape to a desert colony of surviving humans, where the plot stops so they can whine at each other over whether they should pick Bland Hunk #1 (Max Irons), who Melanie met while on the run, or Bland Hunk #2 (Jake Abel), who’s just conveniently there. Meanwhile, the eeeeevil Seeker (Diane Kruger) tries to hunt down Wanderer, for no other reason than she’s eeeeevil.

“The Host’s” biggest problem is that it has no clue what to do with the many ethical questions or interesting ideas it raises. The film either sidesteps them in cheap, easy ways or pretends they don’t exist, all the way up to an ending that will make you wonder if Meyer’s all right in the head.

For starters, there’s the idea of the aliens as benevolent rather than malevolent creatures. There is no reason why we should like the Souls (oh yes, we’re supposed to like Wanderer and her kind). They’re incredibly hypocritical and idiotic, not to mention the whole “enslaving the human race with no regard for their own autonomy” thing. “Oh, we don’t believe in violence. We’ll just mind-rape you into obedience, because that’s so much better. Clearly we are morally superior to you filthy humans.”

Speaking of rape, is it impossible for Meyer to write any kind of romance that doesn’t involve a bunch of horrible abusive overtones? Melanie’s first encounter with Bland Hunk #1 involves a very gross forced kiss that instantly turns into bland, dull romance, and when Wanderer and Bland Hunk #2 are slobbering over each other on a conveniently photogenic cliff, Bland Hunk #2 has the balls to ask if Melanie could “go into the other room” so he can make out with Wanderer, with Melanie internally protesting the whole way. And we’re supposed to think this is all very romantic, and that there’s nothing wrong with it.

F—k you, Meyer.

As for the characters and dialogue, they’re pretty standard for the Meyer-verse: paper-thin, contradictory a-holes who spout plastic nonsense that sounds absolutely nothing like how real people talk. Wanderer is supposed to be conflicted due to her loyalty to her race as well as wanting to respect Melanie, but she just comes across as stupid and selfish, veering ludicrously between being caring and insensitive before a vile turn into Martyr Land that will make you want to throw things at the screen. Meyer obviously didn’t like Melanie very much, because the film goes to great lengths to make her a huge bitch for absolutely no reason.

The Host

Diane Kruger gets her Inspector Javert on in “The Host.” Photo from Ace Showbiz.

And that ain’t even touching the many, many plot holes: If the Souls are glowing amoeba-ish things that need a second party to implant them, how did the first Soul infect the first host? Why do the infected humans usually fade away after a Soul’s been implanted? How did the Souls manage to take over the world if they’re as resistant to using force as they say? Where the hell did the survivor’s accommodations (like electricity) come from? How the hell do the survivors have a wheat field in the middle of the desert? Never explained.

There aren’t even any technical merits here. Ronan is a fantastic actress, but her dialogue and character are so awful she has nothing to work with. Irons and Abel are hopelessly wooden, and Kruger may as well have a mustache to twirl for as subtle as she is. The setting is also the same generic, shiny all-white-everything future we’ve seen a million times. It’s like the future is ruled by Apple or something.

In conclusion, “The Host” is a failure on every conceivable level. It doesn’t even provide unintentional laughs: only a bottomless well of stupidity.

Speakeasy Grade: F-

Starring: Saoirse Ronan, Max Irons, Jake Abel, Diane Kruger

Rated PG-13 for some sensuality and violence

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2 thoughts on “Stop the infection, ‘The Host’ must die

  1. I’ve watched thousands of movies and I can say without pause that The Host was the worst movie I have ever seen. It’s not the actors or the way it was filmed or the sets. It’s everything about the story. I really hope Stephanie Meyer did not intend for this to be some kind of pro-life metaphor with the Souls being fetuses and how the host bodies (pregnant people) should learn to co-exist because the Souls are “the purest souls” that can’t help it if they need to inhabit someone’s body to survive and we’re “monsters” for killing them. I am pro-life and just no, F you. There is a huge difference between your body creating a kid that grows in your womb for 9 months and being completely invaded by another person/species. A pregnant woman continuing her bloodline is not possessed and does not have a parasite in her.

    The Host was the rapiest movie to ever not feature a rape scene. All the Souls were rapists either raping humans for their entire life or raping them to death. The Souls knew that these humans did not want to be possessed and forced their way into their bodies until the human spirits faded away. I hated when Wanderer told Melanie “get out of my head!” She’s not in your head. You are in hers! Or like you said, that guy asking if Melanie can leave so they can have a moment alone to make out and possibly have sex. How is that different from a guy wondering if the girl can be unconscious so he can have a moment alone with her body to kiss it and have sex with it without her fighting him off? He thought of it as Wanderer’s body simply because she took stole it from Melanie even though he knew Melanie was still there wanting consent of the body she was born and raised and spent her entire life in back. Both he and Wanderer knew that Melanie did not want him touching her.

    I felt uneasy and pissed off the entire movie. Wanderer was a rapist, all of the Souls were rapists, and that stupid human boy was an attempted rapist. When Wanderer bathed that was touching Melanie’s naked body, kissing the other boy was forcing Melanie to be witness to her boyfriend cheating on her with her own body, etc.

    And why did nobody give questions for Melanie to answer via Wanderer? They just accepted that Melanie was still in there without asking to communicate with her.

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