Metamorphosis – DVD Review

Hungarian writer and director Jenö Hodi (1993’s American Kickboxer 2, remember?) has brought something unique to the growing collection of vampires in television and cinema, but only in how strikingly dire this ‘thriller’ is. Metamorphosis is a shockingly amateur affair that somehow managed to have a budget of around $6m.

Metamorphosis has genre dysphoria. The plot to this vampire romance/action thriller/horror/comedy bizarre blend is a cumbersome mess. The overacting, blundering script and 1980’s style costumes are so comically and disturbingly dislodged from anything comparable to contemporary cinema that they can provide a strong distraction from the story unfolding. However, it’s basically about a young American writer named Keith (Corey Sevier) who travels with his two irritating and moronic friends, Kim and J.J (Jennifer Higham and Charlie Hollway) to a small Hungarian village in the mountains to research his book about Elizabeth Bathory; a countess from the seventeenth century who bathed in the blood of young virgins.

For some reason Keith didn’t plan his trip at all and the trio casually wind up in a foggy cemetery late at night. A woman named Elizabeth appears (who is the countess’ vampire daughter, obviously, played by Irena A. Hoffman) and offers to take them to the monastery, speaking in seductive tones and wearing a peculiar lacy white number that’s obviously supposed to look very, very old (but shows maximum cleavage).

Everything about the scene resembles a cheap porno film from the 1980s that should be gathering dust somewhere out of sight. Following some clunky poetry recital and an awkward slow motion, soft focus sex scene where Elizabeth bares her fangs in a slapstick Dracula manner, she and the writer are a loved up item, it’s a ‘dangerous and passionate’ love affair as Hodi advertises.

The film becomes increasingly more ridiculous. There’s a car crash, an attack by wolves, a cursed ancient castle holding an evil vampire played by Christopher Lambert, a series of comically bad fight scenes with cheesy dialogue reminiscent of 1980’s action films, and an attempt at a dramatic twist that has something to do with purgatory and other worldly realms. At times, it didn’t seem to take itself too seriously. It could be forgiven if it was intentionally outrageous, such as the more accomplished ‘Drag me to Hell’. Yet it’s evident by the efforts at a complex plot twist and the strain in Corey Sevier’s face as he acts with all his might and screams in anguish for his Elizabeth that Metamorphosis has attempted to be something more serious, and has ultimately failed. Think ‘Goosebumps’ rather than ‘Interview with a Vampire’. Sevier actually starred in several Goosebumps episodes back in the 1990’s. Evidently, he has dug out his old acting methods and applied them here, much to the viewers dismay.

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