Friday, September 3, 2010

WTF France?!?: Metamorphosis (2008)

The French are a strange lot.  For example, they helped us fight our war for independence that was done under the auspices of 'religious freedom.'  In modern day France, they've been trying to ban any sign of Muslims or their cultural heritage.  They founded the idea of existentialism, which places more value on ideas than objects.  Today, France is one of the major commerical countries in the world.  It's this odd dichotomy that leads me into today's film: Metamorphosis.  It's a French vampire film that manages to have one really awesome part to it, but otherwise be disappointing.  How can a movie be both good and bad at the same time?  Well, the French pull it off!  The film finally gives us one thing that we've secretly been wanting to see.  What is that?  You'll have to wait and see like I did.  I can tell you that it stars Corey Sevier and Christopher Lambert and offers a very *different* look at a historical villain.  Confusingly, the movie is a French production, but set in Hungary and filmed in English.  My brain hurts.  Will more parts of me hurt?  Get out your holy spear for my review of...
The story begins with a man (Lambert) going to his brother's funeral.  He's upset because his brother is supposed to be buried in the family castle.  He only gets more upset when they put a stake through his heart!  One scene later, he is digging up his brother to bury him properly when he gets attacked in his car.  Say good-bye to Christopher for the next forty-five minutes!  The main plot involves a trio of young people (including Sevier) going into Hungary since the Corey is writing a book on Elizabeth Bathory.  I should mention the long, pretentious narration in the beginning about that and the scene where she is taken away from her daughter (also named Elizabeth).  Why are the other two people there?  Um, just because, I guess.  They run into a woman named Elizabeth, who I'm sure is totally not related to that girl from before.  Sevier falls for her right away, ending up in bed with her within a day.  They end up at a church where crosses tend to vibrate around her.  Hmm, that's not a good sign, is it?  The next day, they drive towards the castle, only to get into a car accident.  Everybody is fine, however, and the journey continues on foot.  This is actually a very important scene for later, but not for the reason you might think.
As the story progresses, things get more strange...but are still dull.  I just can't muster up any interest for these characters- I'm sorry.  They end up going to the castle with a priest, a nun and a Russian couple.  Worst punch-line ever!  Before the trip, however, Elizabeth leaves without so much as a real note.  It's just a note about 'walking into the light' or something that's written in lipstick.  On the road, they get chased by wolves.  Wow, this seems random.  The things stop chasing them when they hear a strange noise.  In the castle, the group experience some sort of time loop.  No, they never really explain this.  The group gets split up and attacked by an unseen person.  This leads to the only good part of the movie..
Christopher Lambert as a vampire!  This is just genius casting!  He shows up and kills the Russian couple, but takes time to enjoy it.  He even mocks the guy for not shooting him in the heart when he had the chance.  Oh yeah, he can also set crosses on fire like in Bram Stoker's Dracula- I still don't know how that works.  He kills the girl and the best friend character, but relishes killing Sevier.  Fortunately, Elizabeth shows up and explains everything.  You see, she is Bathory's daughter- no shit- and became a vampire to kill the husband's family line.  They have a silly kung-fu fight, but she loses.  He tries to kill the priest, but he escapes by praying, having a light shine on him and teleporting away.  No, really.  He has a face-off again with Sevier and beats up Elizabeth some more.  Finally, he gets killed by Sevier in a cop-out scene.  Boo, movie!  After this, Sevier nearly dies as he crawls towards the light, so Elizabeth bites him.  He wakes the field by the crash site from before.  Explain, movie!  As it turns out, the trio died in the crash, so Elizabeth goes to Limbo to bring him back.  Yes, the entire third act took place in Limbo.  On second thought, don't explain movie!  Sevier tries to save the group, but history repeats itself.  He is not happy about being a vampire, but will learn to accept it.  In the Epilogue, the pair get picked up by a man who knows that they're vampires.  Um, okay.
This movie is really not good.  It tries to do a whole lot right, but really falters.  For one thing, the whole movie should have been about Christopher Lambert as a vampire.  I mean, was anything else here more interesting?  The love story wasn't.  The haunted house angle wasn't.  The vague Satanic/vampiric sub-plots really added nothing.  Much like Communion, the film is really only notable for one section.  Unlike that film, I didn't know what to expect, so the trippy stuff with Lambert was surprising.  The most animated I've ever seen him was either in Mean Guns or Absolon, so this one was a surprise.  I want to tell you how awesome this movie is, but it's really only the 20 minutes or so that feature Lambert.  The biggest problem though is that none of this really makes any sense.  So, Elizabeth Bathory was just driven crazy by her husband, so her daughter grew up to adulthood, became a vampire and started killing the husband's whole line?  I can sort of buy that part, but what about the whole 'limbo' thing?  How does that even relate to vampire movies?  What is going on?  If you think I'm confused by this whole thing, just check out Lambert's reaction to the final product...
Up next, Blockbuster Trash brings us the second David DeCoteau film in Mondo Bizarro's history.  Will it be less gay and, you know, actually good?  Stay tuned...

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