Directed by Jonathon Kimble, Metamorphosis is a horror thriller that stars Kimble himself as a man trapped in his house due to COVID. As his wife battles for survival in an ICU due to this deadly disease, the protagonist feels the isolation creeping in and with this confusion arrives a malevolent entity, hellbent on destroying everything and every one in its path.
Made entirely by Kimble himself, Metamorphosis is a perfect depiction of the mental breakdown we all faced when COVID first hit. As the death toll ran quickly into the thousands, we all saw what the disease could do if it ran amok.
Government mandated lockdowns that essentially locked people away from each other to prevent the disease from spreading only added to the anger and confusion. It is out of this pure helplessness that the idea for Metamorphosis presumably arose and the result is a grandiose depiction of loss and liberty that will shake audiences to their core.
Visually, the film has much to tell. The blue tint alludes to the mental agony and conflict within the protagonist as he battles both the demons of his isolation and his rapidly deteriorating mental stability. The closeup shots of his face and eyes aid in this by allowing a peek into the soul; illustrating the constant battle within. In addition, the slow pace of the film during the first two acts works in the narrative’s favour as well. Illustrating the mundane nature of day to day affairs during the COVID lockdown, the slow pace is a clear reminder to all of us how difficult it was to stay indoors and ensure our mental stability during the pandemic.
In the acting department, Kimble gives it his all. Displaying incredible range and emotion, Kimble showcases the plight of a man slowly losing his grip on reality pretty well. There is so much to unpack in the protagonist’s performance as he has to play the role of a grieving husband, a mentally unstable man and a probable killer simultaneously. It is clear that Kimble committed wholeheartedly to the project as his dedication to the character is both sublime and fantastic. Carrying the entire film on his shoulders as he is the only actor in the entire production, Kimble is extraordinary in every way.
Kimble has an interesting way of showing the mental breakdown of the protagonist. Beginning with a dizzying overhead shot of the suburb in which the protagonist resides, long uninterrupted shots of the protagonist doing normal stuff soon transform into slow motion closeups of his face displaying confusion and aggression.
This persists for some time and then, a shot of the knives in the kitchen depicts the protagonist has gone over the edge. What follows is a cacophony of violence and confused identities as the character tries to make sense of everything around him. Whether he succumbs to the darkness or not is left for the viewer to decide by the end, the black and white ending providing a much needed emotional closure to this emotional and difficult journey.
From a narrative standpoint, Kimble ensures to keep things simple. The overarching story is the descent of the protagonist into madness and Kimble fills this journey with as much emotion as possible. Making the audience identify with the character is one of the hardest jobs in any film and Kimble manages to accomplish this in style. We not only identify with the pitfalls faced by the protagonist but also look to understand his struggles from an emotional point of view. It is obvious that the protagonist is facing a multitude of mental issues and it speaks wonders for Kimble that he is able to identify the protagonist and the audience, ensuring that the two connect seamlessly.
While Kimble could have expanded this 48 minute film into a full feature length production, the story’s limited runtime ultimately works in its favour. With no filler to extend the runtime, Kimble gets down to brasstacks, delivering a story that he wants to tell just the way he wants it. The editing cuts down any fat that might make the story bloated and the kinetic cinematography ensures that things remain interesting throughout the entire runtime. The sound mixing coupled with the haunting score aids the narrative as well and the whole film, from both a thematic and a technical standpoint, feels well made and well thought-out.
A microcosm of dealing with loneliness in a difficult time, Metamorphosis has a lot of things going for it. It is visually striking, thematically poignant and emotionally resonating. Jonathon Kimble has succeeded in what he set out to do and his film captures the confusion and paranoia of a global health catastrophe pretty accurately. Beautiful, moving and heart wrenching, Metamorphosis succeeds at displaying the human cost of the pandemic earnestly. Based on this film, Kimble has a significant talent for developing deep, meaningful stories and one can hope that he puts his talents to work in a horror feature next.
About the film
Directed, shot, and performed solely by Jonathon Kimble, “Metamorphosis” was filmed during the COVID lockdown of Spring/Summer 2020 in Toledo, Ohio. A man is quarantined alone in his house while his wife is intubated in an ICU. As his whole world is reduced to being trapped inside of his own small house, a malevolent entity seems to be trying to force itself in.