I said FUCK ME!
Every once in a while you hear about films that you will always remember for one reason or another. Films such as The Human Centipede, A Serbian Film and Cannibal Holocaust are just three that I could name, however no film has ever truly disturbed me to the point where I would be thinking about it long term.
The closest I have probably ever come is Human Centipede 3, a film that I have reviewed previously and hated because it was that disturbing, however, after a few days I was fine and barely think about it anymore, however, I get the feeling I am about to watch something much, much, much more disturbing.
I have heard about Thanatomorphose far more than I probably should have for a film that is supposedly not known, and I have heard is it deeply unsettling and for lack of better words, wrong, so this could get interesting…….
Laura (Rose) has just moved into a new apartment that is pretty much falling apart. One day her boyfriend steps on a rusty nail and she treats him for it before he leaves. Over the next few days lesions, burns and marks start appearing all over her body, but she thinks nothing of it and all of her friends believe that she is being physically abused by per boyfriend, which isn’t far from the truth as he regularly hits her and tries to rape her on occasions.
Initially just brushing it off, Laura starts to take considerable more notice as the bruises continue to grow and various parts of her body fall off without any effort. She loses all sexual satisfaction and is desperate to feel love again, even going as far as regularly masterbating in an attempt for sexual thrill, but refuses to go to hospital for any help whatsoever.
Eventually her body just degrades to the point where there isn’t a single part that isn’t covered by some kind of decomposition and the rigor-mortis is seriously impacting her ability to move. Laura regularly starts finding maggots eating away at her insides and there seems to be no stopping her degradation. Her lust for sex eventually leads her into killing her boyfriend when he tries to help, and surely it’s only a matter of time before her body finally gives up on her completely.
So, it’s is reputation deserved?
Thanatomorphose is hard to describe without using words such as sickening, twisted, vile and revolting, which is exactly what it sets out to do. Thanatomorphose disturbed me because it is visceral, unapologetic and visually grotesque. It is without doubt one of the grossest and visually stomach turning films that I have ever seen….. but it’s not a bad movie.
I’m not going to lie, I was bored at first as not a lot happened and I wasn’t prepared for the slow nature of the film, especially when there’s not a lot of dialogue contained within. I didn’t count the lines (I have far better things to do) and can’t find a link that said how much dialogue was contained within the 94 minute movie, but I would be very surprised if it’s more than 20. There are spells of 15/20 minutes where not a single line is said, but it strangely works.
Once Laura’s flesh starts rotting noticeably, the film starts moving ahead very quite nicely. Laura spends most of the film on her own and therefore there isn’t really a lot of need to say anything. Before she realises what is happening there is a scene where she reads a letter, she reads the opening three/four words and then throws it away, what most people would do in real life.
In many ways the film is very realistic, ignoring the obvious subject matter. We never know what sparks her body dying on her, but the stages of death are excellent as things such as blood pooling under the skin and rigormortis setting in (it’s amazing what body processes I learnt whilst watching Return of the Living Dead), the latter of which makes it difficult for her to move and that is very true of which would happen in this situation.
Visually the film is exactly what it needs to be, it’s not clean, it’s not shiny, it’s not designed for high definitions, it is unapologetically grimy, sticky and morbid. It makes you feel filthy and I wanted to have a shower whilst watching it….and I was in the bath at the time (I watch films in the weirdest place). That’s something that you can’t create easily, the desire to get clean as soon as possible, and this film makes you feel that way, especially when her body is practically fully rotted.
My only real gripe with the film is it’s never explained why or how her body starts falling apart. It just starts randomly, however, I do like that much like they do in “The Fly”, all new scenes have minor changes so they’re not overly noticeable at the time, but in many ways it feels more gradual. For example, the first time you meet Laura she has a mark on her left buttock, and gradually throughout the scene more and more appear that weren’t there beforehand.
In many ways it is easy to see the gradual changes because Laura spends most of the movie completely naked, and it’s full frontal nudity. There’s not modesty involved in this film at even the slighest level and it takes nearly 15 minutes for her to put any clothes on at all. It’s quite strange in many ways.
One of the most memorable films that I have seen for quote some time and one of the most unusual that I have ever seen.
I was debating for the longest time about whether to put the approval stamp against this and whilst reviewing this I made the decision to give it based on that I had no reason not to. Whilst watching it I felt engrossed in what I was watching, it wasn’t awful and other than the slow start and not really having any genesis event for what happens to her, I can’t complain at all.
It still feels a bit wrong giving the film an approved stamp but I can’t for the life of me think of a good reason not to, and in that sense I am giving it.
Feel free to watch it but be prepared to feel very uneasy and a bit sick, especially when Laura starts pulling maggots out of herself.