Read the transcript below:
Dee Christopher here, bringing you new horror fuelled content every single week, giving you my recommendations on what to watch each weekend.
A big gamsahabnida ("thank you" in Korean) to the ever generous Sean Redlitz over at Shudder who was kind enough to send me an advance screener of a brand new Shudder original from South Korea, launching this Thursday on the platform.
Metamorphosis is a supernatural horror, directed by Kim Hong- Seon. It was filmed in the Philippines and originally released in Korea towards the end of last year.
It feels a bit like The Exorcist meets The Amityville horror with a touch of Jordan Peele’s Us. So if you enjoyed those movies, you’ll probably like this one.
If you’ve been watching my channel for a while, you’ll already know that I’m a big fan of a lot of Korean content, as well as Korean food, but I draw the line at k-pop... it just doesn’t have enough blastbeats...
Before I get into the story, If you’re a horror fan or looking for movie recommendations in general, consider subscribing - it’s totally free and I’ve got some really exciting collaborations upcoming that you won’t want to miss!
OK, let’s get into it...
The movie opens with a classic exorcism scene, the possessed girl is tied to a bed with the priest chanting at her, cross in hand, trying to expel the demon which has made its self at home in the young woman’s body.
Unfortunately in this case the exorcism doesn’t go to plan, the demon (and therefore it’s host) jumps out of a third story window, killing the girl, but not before it promises to torment the exorcist’s family with the line I opened this video with.
We flash forward to the exorcist’s brother and his family moving house to escape the horrid rumours the failed exorcism spawned, and we are introduced to the characters we will be following throughout the next couple of hours.
This is a pretty long film, clocking in at 113 minutes; but with the amount of twists, turns and unexpected elements the viewer experiences throughout, its perfectly justified.
Often, in modern horror, we are subjected to cheap jump scares in place of tension, atmosphere and emotion. In metamorphosis, the opposite strategy is employed.
There are few jumps, but lots of atmosphere and emotion, you will find yourself really feeling for the family and the horrors they have to endure.
This serves as a testament to the solid writing, but also to the heart wrenching delivery from the key cast members.
One of the most interesting things about the story is the way the demon presents its self. Typically in movies like this, the demon enters someone’s body and takes it over, covering it in boils and scars in the process, and puppeteers it from within.
While There is an amount of that here, there is also another key layer which really took me by surprise as the family (and the viewer) begins to understand what is going on.
It’s pretty creepy, and while the demon character can be robotic at times, just trying to hurt people, it seems to revel in psychological torture as well as physical, harking back to Pazuzu’s techniques in The Exorcist but in an even more sinister way.
using hallucinations, amongst other things, to cause the family to turn against one another as well as question their own sanity at times.
One of the many strengths this film has is the imagery used throughout, utilising elements of Korean folklore,
like the murder of crows which seems to be present during the evil events and they even appear to be the cause of a few.
In Korean culture, the crow is a sign of bad luck, but also is considered a sign that death is about to occur, (like a banshee’s scream) which is how it is used in this film.
If you see a crow, you know that someone is going to die or have just expired in the last few moments and it acts as a nice reoccurring element from the first scene through to the last.
Speaking of the ending, obviously I’m not going to reveal what happens, but the intense performance from the father character in the final sequence is a real tear jerker.
So let’s talk about the production, as there is a lot to say here.
The movie was shot on Arri Alexas, so you know that the image quality is going to be fantastic. They say that a good story is all that’s important, but if this was shot on a GoPro I’d struggle to say as many nice things as I’m about to.
A good film needs to have a backbone in the form of a great story, obviously, but to tell the story effectively, you must invest in creating the vision you see in your head through good cameras, lighting, sound design, art direction and the compositions in general.
Without the tech and a skilled crew to wield it, you risk not being able to effectively tell the story, or even worse, distracting the viewer or making it more difficult for them to hear or see what they should be hearing or seeing.
What’s great about this movie is that all of the above boxes are ticked and are complemented by lots of subtleties and call backs to genre classics.
The story has mysteries and subplots throughout that allow you to really understand the characters, it had lots of elements of drama in there too, which really allowed the cast to show off their talents.
There wasn’t much comedy at all, it was a very serious script, but because the characters were so three dimensional, the lack of comic relief didn’t affect the effectiveness of the performances.
The special effects in metamorphosis are also pretty good, they merge practical and VFX well, it did feel more like the kind of effects you would see in a high end tv show as opposed to a feature, but that’s probably down to budget and that really didn’t detract from the experience too much at all. It was still thoroughly enjoyable and very well done.
I’m struggling to score this movie. I thought it was brilliant, but I also know that I could never score anything higher than a nine as the perfect movie doesn’t exist.
I’m going to give metamorphosis an 8.5 out of ten. I think that’s fair, it’s not going to take the place of parasite as my favourite movie in recent times, but it is certainly up there and I will be recommending it to anyone who will listen!
I tried to keep this fairly brief, I won’t know if I’ve succeeded or not until I get into the edit, but if you’re not already subscribed to shudder, go take advantage of the code in the description below to get a month free, as this month has some incredible releases upcoming.
Be sure to check out this Friday’s video, where I’m going to give you the low down on everything that will be released on Shudder during July 2020, and if you made it this far, hit the like button or drop a comment to let me know.
Once again, thanks so much for spending this time with me, I really appreciate you checking out my thoughts.
I have and ever will be Dee Christopher, and I look forward to catching you next time.