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Thanatomorphose (2012)

As far as "video nasties" go, 'Thanatomorphose' is one that I have been avoiding for some time. That's not to say that I wasn't more than curious at just how uncomfortable this film could genuinely make a person feel, it was more the concern that for the first time in my life that I wouldn't be able to make it through to the end of a film. Could I have finally found the one that would push me to very limit of what I consider to be that little bit too far?

Visually, 'Thanatomorphose' is as gritty and as raw as it needs to be. The unpolished and clearly low budget aesthetics only amplifies the sickeningly grotesqueness nature of the film. This directorial debut from writer and director Éric Falardeau is designed to be as claustrophobic and unsettling as its subject matter. Not only does Falardeau present this story in such a way that you are in a constant state of discomfort, but the eerie yet beautiful score encapsulates the dark tone of the film surrounding it.

This film is certainly not for the fainthearted. The level of gore and vulgarity on display is extremely discomforting. To have a film like this feel as authentic as possible, the make up and practical effects need to be convincing. This is something that is executed exceptionally well and genuinely stomach churning in more than a few instances. Considering the title 'Thanatomorphose' is an hellenic word meaning ‘the visible signs of an organism's decomposition caused by death’, special makeup effects designer David Schere doesn't hold back showing us this transformation in the most visually disturbing fashion.

This is a clear representation of the slow ‘decaying’ physical and mental harm so many women often suffer at the hands of abusive male relationships within their everyday lives. And with that in mind, the central focus and responsibility of success falls on lead actress Kayden Rose. Being the only character on screen for the majority of 'Thanatomorphose’s run time, and being confined to the singular location we see in this film, her performance and her ability to engage an audience is vital. I found Rose's performance to be masterful. She delivers a wide array of emotions through constant character growth as the film progresses and is without question the highlight of this entire production.

I will say that I had a slight issue with the slow pacing early on. And, although it is building valid exposition and character development, I just felt things could have moved at a slightly faster speed in order to keep the engagement to a much higher level. This is only a minor problem and something that I don't think most people will have a problem with. However, given the shock factor associated with 'Thanatomorphose' it made the slow burn introduction all that more noticeable. I will say though, if like me you do encounter similar issues with the pacing early on, I would say it is worth pushing through as the pay off is certainly worth it.

When you take into consideration the subtext that this film is conveying, it makes the graphic nature and of it all much more digestible. That is not to say that 'Thanatomorphose' is by any means a pleasurable experience to sit through. However, if like me you, find yourself in constant state of curiosity as to what you can tolerate as a horror fan, I would say this film is as good as any when it come to testing those limits. Overall, this is one of the more interesting and well produced "video nasties" I have encountered, and will certainly stay with me for some time to come.



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