Title: Henge

Also known as:
Metamorphosis (English title)

Year: 2011

Genre: Horror / Drama

Language: Japanese

Runtime: 54 min

Director: Hajime Ohata

Writer: Hajime Ohata

IMDb: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2285481/

Plot:
Symptoms such as loss of memory and strange seizures is just the beginning of a man's fall. His wife does whatever she can to help him, but when his disease is starting to transform him into a creature, there is simply nothing more she can do than to be a wife.

Our thoughts:
It's not a surprise that a Japanese movie takes on this spin of the metamorphosis plotline. Where an American movie would play out more like "The Wolf Man", this Japanese movie comes off as a drama version of "Tetsuo: The Iron Man" but with a more organic transformation, mixed with the style of a werewolf movie. Add to that a kaiju ending.
"Henge" (a much better title than "Metamorphosis", which can make you think of Franz Kafka's fantastic story) is about a man and a wife. The man has fallen ill and is suffering from strange symtoms. Things begin to grow out of his body, and he is starting to transform into a big... monster, for lack of better word. The wife, who has been trying her hardest up until this point, realizes she has to do something, but it's just not possible. Her last resort is to stand by her husband no matter what. Even when people are being killed.

Without major similarities to Kafka's "Metamorphosis", there are definitely still a few common grounds that are applied. Basically the same second that a transformation movie goes for a drama approach and a person trying to accept the "monster", if going for a certain vibe, it's a go-to reference. "Henge" does share plenty with Tsukamoto's "Tetsuo" flicks, though. Both visually (the creature reminds of "Tetsuo III: Bullet Man") and in certain points of the story. As expected, it will also bring a few Cronenberg moments to mind. It does still stand fairly well on its own and towards the end it's hard not to enjoy exactly the things that "Henge" is doing differently.

I can't say the movie won me over completely - the short runtime does force it to wrap things up a bit fast. Had it gotten 40 or so more minutes to tell the story, then we could have gotten a steadier ground to start from, but also a stronger ending. As it stands now it's more shallow than I'd wish. There are some scenes that border on showing a more mature monster movie but the pace forces it to just continue to, like the character, grow. And does it grow - the ending is a lot of fun, really. It's very B-movie ish, as kaiju flicks always are, but because it starts so small and then grows, it's a lot more fun to watch. Even though the effects are cheesy.

"Henge" is not a fantastic movie by a long shot. It could have been more powerful had it been longer and dived into the characters more. A slow start and a longer ending is exactly what is needed. That said, "Henge" mixes a lot of things I thoroughly dig, so I can't help but think it's a fun little movie.


Positive things:
- It takes a lot of fun parts of monster movies and puts it together.
- Not superb effects, but considering being a small movie I approve.
Negative things:
- It should've been longer so that it could put some work on characters and depth.
- CGI blood.

Rating:
Gore: 1.5/5
Nudity: 0/5
Story: 2/5
Effects: 2/5
Comedy: 0.5/5

We bought this movie from:
CDJapan.co.jp

Reviewed by:
Ronny




 

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