Thanatomorphose [2012] likely got walked out on more than any other film released that year, and while I really want to say that that is a damn shame, I completely understand. It’s a damn shame though. This film is so ruthlessly dedicated to its gruesome premise that it is really quite awe inspiring. The concept is succinct: adrift in love and in life, an unhappy woman decomposes. Stated so plainly, we see an elegant simplicity to a sorrowful tale. On the screen, however, elegance couldn’t possibly be farther from the case, as we learn just how awful decomposition can be.

How awful? Real awful. The film is extraordinarily intimate for so hideous a subject, and one of its great strengths is the absurd detail of the makeup effects. What is essentially 20 minutes of exposition and then 90 minutes of a lone woman rotting wouldn’t work for a second if the special effects left anything to be desired, and with only one or two exceptions the makeup and special effects succeed in carrying this visual horrorshow.

Other reviews have called Kayden Rose particularly brave for taking the lead role, and I have to agree. She spends probably 90% of her screen time nude, the makeup must have taken hours every day to put on, and the whole film is a painful, visual struggle with literal decomposition. There are scenes with live maggots. Her acting is a bright spot among the generally questionable supporting cast. The nature of the film required her to carry, and she does so admirably.

Success in the visual horrorshow regard would be construed as failure to the sensitive viewer, and as usual, I urge gentle readers to venture elsewhere. This film is really about the decomposition of a living human being, and we’re going to see it. In detail. Let us do so.


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