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Saturday, July 4, 2020

Review: Metamorphosis

Director: Hong-seon Kim
Screenplay: Hong-seon Kim
Year: 2020

In recent times I have written quite a bit about Korean horror cinema and I have repeated on several occasions that this country has become an important protagonist in this genre. Movies such as  "Train to Busan", "Rampant", and the recent “Monstrum” supports this observation, although the most recent Koren movies on Shudder,  "Warning: Do Not Play" and "Metamorphosis" does not necessarily follow the trail of their predecessors. 

After a difficult family event, a family decides to move to a quieter place away from the controversy. When they arrive at the new place, it all feels great until they start experiencing paranormal events the slowly increase in danger. A spirit with shapeshifting abilities invades their home and puts them all in danger. 

“Metamorphosis” (original title “Byeonshin”) can be divided into two halves and they appear to be two different ideas. The first half establishes the demon that stalks the family and offers disturbing images that promise a chilling movie. The second half deflates after it leaves this aside and puts more effort into elaborating the family drama in a stretch that is longer than what it needed to be for maintaining a better rhythm and that feels unorganized and lacking focus.

"Metamorphosis" starts with a good and sinister scene about an exorcism that establishes the plot and the tone of the movie. This event, which ends up being crucial in the plot, is way too reminiscent of “The Exorcist” and can be considered a tribute or as a copy of this classic. Either way, it is effective in exposing it strengths, that lays in the frightening imagery and the makeup to get them.

On the horror aspect, "Metamorphosis" has plenty to give, but the story doesn’t offer much innovation. The script form Hong-seon Kim (“Traffickers”) offers a simple possession story like thousand others we have seen and, while it is mainly well written, there are parts where the dialogues are shameful and the twists predictable. Its almost two hours of runtime feel excessive and are only made more tolerable by the good acting of the cast starring Sung-Woo Bae (“The King”), Dong-il Sung, and Young-nam Jang (“A Werewolf Boy”) and it’s frightening moments that loose presence in the second half.

"Metamorphosis" offers horrific images that are effective and well crafted, but its plot doesn’t offer anything new to the possession subgenre. The start is promising, but it later deflates and becomes slow and predictable. Its possession moments are its strength, and this is the sort of movie that is better to watch in the dark for a better experience.

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