Kang-ho was finally determined that this time he would beat Kthxur'gnhk's time in the half-marathon.

THE HOST (2006)

The Abridged Script

FADE IN:

INT. LAB

A LAB TECH in KOREA is doing LAB STUFF when he’s interrupted by his IDIOT PATHOLOGIST BOSS.

IDIOT PATHOLOGIST

Hey, see these twelve thousand bottles of formaldehyde? Well I don’t like the typeface on their labels and my reflection looks kinda wonky in them, so I want you to just dump it all in the river.

LAB TECH

But formaldehyde is toxic and carcinogenic! It could harm local wildlife, and cause health problems for people in the area!

IDIOT PATHOLOGIST

Or it could mutate a fish into a giant man-eating monster, sure, like I give a shit.

LAB TECH

...Um, no? Formaldehyde doesn’t do that last one. This is a thing that everybody watching this movie knows.

IDIOT PATHOLOGIST

It’s okay, this setup scene is deliberately exaggerated for satirical effect, anything that’s silly is probably on purpose.

LAB TECH

Oh, okay. I didn’t know this was meant to be a silly movie.

IDIOT PATHOLOGIST

It isn’t! Except sometimes. But sometimes it’s very, very serious! But at other times it ACTS very serious when it’s really having a goof.

LAB TECH

Okay... will I always be able to tell the difference?

IDIOT PATHOLOGIST

Who knows! Basically if you ever say “Hey that plot point makes no sense”, there’s a solid chance that it was just ironic metacommentary and you just fell into Bong Joon-ho’s little trap, ya moron.

LAB TECH

Kind of makes this whole abridged script a doomed venture from the start, but what the hell, let’s give it our best shot!

The TECH pours all the FORMALDEHYDE down the DRAIN. The PATHOLOGIST then makes him BURY THE EMPTY BOTTLES in an ANCIENT INDIAN BURIAL GROUND and WIPE THE SINK with pages torn out of the NECRONOMICON.

EXT. SNACK-BAR STALL BY THE HAN RIVER, SIX YEARS LATER

SONG KANG-HO is working at his FATHER’S SNACK-BAR, and by WORKING we mean FAST ASLEEP.

SONG KANG-HO

I know this makes me look terrible, but it’s okay, I just have narcolepsy!

(pause)

The parts where I steal food from customers, steal money from my father, and walk off the job whenever the mood takes me, THAT’S because I’m terrible.

GO AH-SUNG

And I’m his beautiful teenage daughter, which means that at some point of his life Kang-ho must have successfully procreated with an attractive female, however the fuck that could ever have happened.

KANG-HO, AH-SUNG, and KANG-HO’S FATHER BYEON HEE-BONG all head inside to see KANG-HO’S SISTER BAE DOO-NA competing in a NATIONAL ARCHERY COMPETITION on TV.

ARCHERY COMMENTATOR #1

And Doo-na chokes! The timer ran out before she could commit to her last shot!

ARCHERY COMMENTATOR #2

Yes, a tendency to fold under pressure has long been a defining character flaw for Doo-na. One can only hope that, should a real-life crisis ever arise in which it were crucially important that she fire an arrow in a timely fashion, she will experience a last-minute personal breakthrough.

ARCHERY COMMENTATOR #1

What a contrived and hokey circumstance that would be. But in a smart and satirical way, I’m sure.

Disappointed, KANG-HO, AH-SUNG, and HEE-BONG all return to their business. But shortly afterwards, a bunch of people espy some kind of CREATURE drop into the WATER from its perch underneath a nearby BRIDGE.

GAWKER

What is that? It’s a dolphin! Come here, dolphin!

SONG KANG-HO

A dolphin? You thought that was a twenty-foot-long dolphin dangling from a bridge by its prehensile tail?

GAWKER

Sure, everybody knows dolphins live in rivers and cause huge roiling wakes wherever they swim! Let’s throw garbage at it.

But then out of the water bursts a massive THING that looks like GODZILLA sold the bottom half of his BODY so he could afford to buy TEN THOUSAND EXTRA TEETH. It charges along the waterfront, eating people as it goes!

SALLY HAWKINS

(swoons)

Everybody FLEES! Except for random American DAVID ANSELMO.

DAVID ANSELMO

Never fear, citizens! One of the tropes we’re parodying is the American He-Man Saves the Day trope, so here I am to ruggedly fight the monster for you!

(fights monster)

SONG KANG-HO

Me too!

(fights monster)

Wait, what? Holy shit, how did I turn non-crap all of a sudden?

(clobbers monster using near-superhuman strength)

But somehow getting bludgeoned by TWO REGULAR DUDES does not defeat SEMI-GODZILLA. It lays a beatdown on DAVID and KANG-HO RUNS FOR IT.

SONG KANG-HO

Shit! Come, Ah-sung, I will take your hand and rush you to safety, using the last reserves of my sudden and inexplicable competence!

RANDOM GIRL WHOSE HAND KANG-HO ACCIDENTALLY GRABBED

Yeah, I’m pretty sure that’s your daughter back there getting eaten by the monster.

GO AH-SUNG

(swallowed)

SONG KANG-HO

...Okay that seems more my style.

INT. MASS FUNERAL

DOO-NA and KANG-HO’S BROTHER PARK HAE-IL join the rest of the FAMILY to GRIEVE for AH-SUNG. It is SAD. Then they start to, like REALLY grieve, like SO HARD, and it’s awkwardly unclear whether it’s supposed to be SAD or kinda FUNNY. Then they all collapse screaming and convulsing and rolling on top of each other on the floor in GRIEF, and finally we realize that this scene is apparently BLACK COMEDY. Probably. Look, don’t quote me on it.

THE MILITARY

(bursting in)

All right, enough mourning, some social commentary about government oppression is here! Apparently David got some kind of disease off the monster. Is anybody here dumb enough to admit having been exposed to it?

BYEON HEE-BONG

(muttering sotto voce)

No no no no don’t say it don’t say it you moron-

SONG KANG-HO

(raising hand)

Here I am! The monster drooled on my face! I mean, phew, wow, I touched it A LOT, I was practically inside its mouth! Here, smell me, I still got that monster juice funk going on - ow, Dad, why are you stepping on my foot? I’m trying to talk to these guys.

KANG-HO and his FAMILY are all SEIZED and thrown into QUARANTINE.

PARK HAE-IL

Damnit! Brother, you suck!

BAE DOO-NA

It is true, you are the suckiest brother!

GO AH-SUNG

(on phone)

I’m afraid they might have a point about the suckiness, Dad.

SONG KANG-HO

Aw come on it’s not like WAIT WHAT?! Ah-sung, you’re alive!

GO AH-SUNG

Yeah, the monster apparently doesn’t always just munch humans down like popcorn chicken, apparently it also stores some of us up to snack on later like a big scaly squirrel. And apparently it fucked up with me, because after it jammed me halfway down its throat and then puked me into a concrete pit, I was still alive and perfectly healthy!

SONG KANG-HO

Huh. That sounds like something that’d be really hard to do on purpose, let alone for a fish monster to do accidentally.

GO AH-SUNG

I know, right? Anyway, I’m in a sewer. A... a sewer with no entrance or exit that’s not really connected to anything? Is that a thing? It’s kind of just a huge concrete box, and I try not to think too hard about what kind of shitty reception I must be getting in-

(call drops out)

SONG KANG-HO

Shit! We need to save her! Unfortunately the bureaucrats detaining us are Social Commentary bureaucrats, so there’s no chance of them ever helping or believing us.

BYEON HEE-BONG

(scratches chin)

Wait a minute... what if we could make the social commentary work FOR us?

(clears throat)

GEE, SINCE THESE PEOPLE ARE TRYING TO CONTAIN A KILLER VIRUS I BET THEY ALWAYS MAINTAIN STRICT SECURITY PROTOCOLS, SURE WOULD BE HORRIFYINGLY UNPROFESSIONAL IF THEY DIDN’T.

SECURITY PROTOCOLS

(are lax as fuck)

BYEON HEE-BONG

(escaping easily)

Bingo!

The entire FAMILY gets out of there, then they spend their LIFE SAVINGS on a couple of black-market GUNS.

BAE DOO-NA

Except me of course! Instead I’m gonna be carrying around my far less powerful and practical bow from here on out, so I’m ready for my super-predictable hero moment.

SONG KANG-HO

Okay, let’s do this! Our one clue is “sewer”, so let’s go and search every single sewer in Seoul I guess!

BYEON HEE-BONG

While a giant monster is running around the area eating everybody!

PARK HAE-IL

And the place is also swarming with military personnel who have been ordered to bring us in dead or alive!

BAE DOO-NA

Yeah, this is a real first-class plan we’ve got going on here.

INT. MONSTER NEST

Meanwhile in the SEWER, AH-SUNG is trying to figure out some means of escape when the MONSTER returns and spits out little boy LEE DONG-HO, who is STILL ALIVE.

GO AH-SUNG

Hey there kid. I see you already met our charming HOST, har de har.

LEE DONG-HO

Poor me! I am a starving homeless waif, and that corpse that got puked out right next to me is my brother, my only living family. Now I have nobody and nothing!

GO AH-SUNG

Ah, we’re doing the whole Aliens bit, are we? Where in the heat of a crisis two loners become surrogate family? Sure, I’m up for that.

LEE DONG-HO

But wait, you’re not a loner, you’ve got heaps of family looking out for you. Now if, say, your dad were suddenly bereaved somehow, he and I could definitely-

GO AH-SUNG

SHUT THE FUCK UP, KID.

EXT. HAN RIVER

The FAMILY search the SEWERS near the RIVER. Suddenly, the MONSTER appears!

MONSTER

MMMM, MORE HUMANS! LUNCH TIME!!

(chases family)

FOR A CREATURE THAT GOT ALONG FINE FOR THE PAST SIX YEARS JUST EATING FISH OR WHATEVER, I SURE SEEM TO HAVE PIVOTED TO AN ALL-HUMAN DIET PRETTY QUICKLY I MUST SAY!!!

BAE DOO-NA

Fear not, family! I have the determination to fire an arrow at the beast at this high-pressure moment!

(fires arrow)

There! That was my personal breakthrough, right? My character flaw was that I don’t have the nerve to act in a crisis. Which I just did. So that’s my character arc done?

PARK HAE-IL

Nah, this isn’t the climax so that didn’t count.

BAE DOO-NA

Damnit. Guess I’ll just hang back and wait for an even MORE crucial time to come through.

The rest of the FAMILY shoot at the MONSTER with their GUNS, achieving about as much as if they’d just been using STERN LANGUAGE.

SONG KANG-HO

Damnit, I’m the only one with a bullet left! I guess I should give my gun to Doo-na, the one of us who is a professional athlete trained in marksmanship?

BYEON HEE-BONG

No, it clearly makes more sense to give it to me, an elderly shop owner!

He takes KANG-HO’S GUN and gets in the path of the CHARGING MONSTER, but when he pulls the TRIGGER it turns out KANG-HO FUCKED UP HIS COUNT and had NO BULLETS AFTER ALL! The MONSTER plows RIGHT INTO HIM.

BYEON HEE-BONG

Kang-ho, you fuckwit, this is all your fault! If I had that one additional bullet, surely I would have instantly killed the creature which has shrugged off all gunfire thus far, and its momentum would have been magically canceled so I wouldn’t have been crushed to death two seconds later!

MONSTER

HMM, SHOULD I EAT THIS GUY, OR SHOVE HIM IN THE LARDER? ACTUALLY YOU KNOW WHAT, I THINK I’LL JUST CLUB HIM TO DEATH AND LEAVE HIM LYING HERE, JUST TO REEEAAALLY MAKE KANG-HO FEEL LIKE TOTAL SHIT.

It DOES THIS. DOO-NA and HAE-IL flee while KANG-HO sobs over his DEAD FATHER until SOLDIERS MATERIALIZE and SEIZE HIM.

INT. HOSPITAL

KANG-HO is brought before some US MILITARY GUYS.

US MILITARY GUYS

We Americans saw that you guys were having some kind of a problem, so we decided that the US military should storm uninvited into South Korea and get meddling in your country’s business.

SONG KANG-HO

This seems... oddly familiar. Maybe I’m reading too much into it.

US MILITARY GUYS

Our plan is to attack the monster by flooding your country with a dangerous chemical weapon named “Agent Yellow”.

SONG KANG-HO

Okay yeah, making it pretty fucking explicit then. What do you want with me?

US MILITARY GUYS

It’s about this virus, see. The thing is, erm, David’s the only one who ever got sick, and even then he just presented cold-like symptoms and only died because we sliced him up too much looking for the virus... which maaayyybe doesn’t exist after all.

(pulls out scalpel)

So we’re gonna cut your brain open in a last-ditch effort to find it, to try and keep the egg off our face!

SONG KANG-HO

Wow, you guys are awful. It seems that in the end, military fascism is the real monster!

US MILITARY GUYS

Pretty sure the giant land shark that keeps devouring people is still a monster.

SONG KANG-HO

Fine, you can share the title I guess. Anyway, are those security protocols of yours still as conveniently cruddy as ever?

(escapes)

Sweet!

INT. OFFICE

HAE-IL has contacted a FRIEND to help him find the SEWER where AH-SUNG is trapped.

FRIEND

Okay, if I put her phone number into this computer, it’ll tell us where her phone call came from earlier.

PARK HAE-IL

Huh. That’s a pretty good plan. Like, a million billion times better than the dumb plan that got my dad killed. Why didn’t I come to you immediately?

FRIEND

Good point. I sure hope that the delay doesn’t wind up making the difference as to whether Ah-sung lives or dies.

But then the FRIEND sneaks ONE ROOM OVER to meet up with A DOZEN ARMY GUYS.

FRIEND

(whispering)

All right. I got him right where you need him. Now let’s count to a hundred and then jump out and grab him!

SOLDIER

Question: why are we all hiding super-quietly like we’re throwing him a surprise party? Wouldn’t it have been easier just to grab him as soon as he walked into the building?

FRIEND

Pfft, what’s he gonna do, find out the information on his own and then just run for it while we’re wasting time being pointlessly sneaky?

PARK HAE-IL

(finds out information on his own)

(runs for it while they’re wasting time being pointlessly sneaky)

FRIEND

Aw nuts.

HAE-IL gets away and makes it to the SEWER. And KANG-HO also stumbles on the right sewer at the same time, and so does DOO-NA, so YEAH REAL USEFUL WORK FINDING THE PLACE HAE-IL.

SONG KANG-HO

But oh no, the Americans are unleashing Agent Yellow nearby, RIGHT NOW! And Ah-sung and Dong-ho got swallowed by the monster again while trying to escape, JUST MOMENTS AGO!!

BAE DOO-NA

So that’s technically FIVE different circumstances necessary for the climax to happen, all converging at the same time and place by total coincidence! Good thing the massive level of contrivance in this plot is meant to be taken satirically, otherwise it’d be total BS!

The US MILITARY unleashes AGENT YELLOW, but the MONSTER is UNHARMED! The PEOPLE, on the other hand, start BLEEDING from their EARS, OH SHIT!!

PARK HAE-IL

OH NO WE ARE DYING!!!

(pause)

...Or not. Actually I seem to be fine to just continue the climax.

BAE DOO-NA

Me too. I guess that whole subplot wasn’t really going anywhere, huh?

They start fighting the MONSTER. KANG-HO manages to drag AH-SUNG and DONG-HO out of its mouth, but AH-SUNG is DEAD, oh no!!

SONG KANG-HO

FUCK! Well, that’s it, the entire slate of protagonists had only one goal and we fucked it up, we lose now and forever.

(sighs)

I guess we might as well kill this big fish while we’re here.

PARK HAE-IL

Very well! Me and my newly-acquired homeless buddy will trick it into drinking a whole bunch of gasoline, like something out of a Looney Tunes cartoon!

BAE DOO-NA

Then I’ll make a fire arrow and do the thing that we’ve been hamfistedly foreshadowing all movie!

(shoots fire arrow, sets monster on fire)

There. Finally.

SONG KANG-HO

And I’ll jab it with a big pointy stick!

(does)

There! I did it!! I killed the monster!!!

PARK HAE-IL

...Um, Doo-na and I set it on fire from the inside out, bro. Pretty sure you did nothing meaningful, as always.

SONG KANG-HO

(fingers in ears)

I WON! I’M THE HERO! ALL HAIL KANG-HO!!

Finally the FAKE VIRUS GOVERNMENT COVERUP simply WASHES AWAY IN THE RAIN OR SOMETHING and KANG-HO takes DONG-HO home with him.

SONG KANG-HO

Well I don't know about you, but I’m feeling pretty bereaved right about now. What do you say, kid? Feel like being my replacement family member?

LEE DONG-HO

That sounds great!

SONG KANG-HO

Excellent! So can I take off work tomorrow, Dad? I’m kinda tired. And I need an advance on my allowance.

END.

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