FEARNET Movie Review: 'Thanatomorphose'


At its best moments, a film review can offer some insights and perspectives that can help a viewer to appreciate a certain movie. In a lot of cases, a film review can simply help you decide what to watch if the critic has a fair amount of insight and personality.

And once in a while, a film review is a big fat "I have no idea if I even liked this film, but since I do love strange horror cinema, I feel compelled to cover it." Such is the case with the admirably bizarre French-Canadian horror film Thanatomorphose. Plot synopsis? Fine: a lonely woman who never leaves her apartment contracts some sort of disease and begins rotting from the inside out. She sleeps, she bathes, she briefly entertains some ungentlemanly callers, and she slowly falls apart. Literally. Graphically. Disgustingly. For over 90 minutes.
Those who will appreciate Thanatomorphose are the film buffs who enjoy the odd, the experimental, the avant-garde, or the "artsy-fartsy," if that's the term you prefer. Those who will detest the film will dismiss it as a plotless, pointless exercise in misery and graphic ugliness. 
But those (like me and most horror fans) who try to see some sort of message amidst all the horror may take Thanatomorphose as little more than a stark, shocking, and sometimes very clever rumination on simple things like loneliness, alienation, and depression. Could these points have been made in a 15-minute short? Probably. Does Thanatomorphose become almost maddening with its repetitive actions and intentionally languid pacing? Certainly.
But there's also something dark and smart and heartfelt going on below the surface of this truly strange horror film. And while it's easy to cite Kayden Rose's amazingly brave performance and director Eric Falardeau for his ability to create an oppressively dreadful setting, Thanatomorphose is not the kind of horror flick you say "thumbs up" or "thumbs down" to. As a lifelong student of horror cinema, I found a lot to admire here. This is not the kind of horror film I'd want to watch every week -- and I may even find it difficult to recommend -- but I'd be lying if I said Thanatomorphose didn't fascinate, aggravate, and impress me at the same time.