King of Thorn is based off the manga by the same name, by Yuji Iwahara. The film was released in 2010. There is a mysterious and fatal virus, the Medusa virus, that is slowly killing the population of the world. The Medusa virus turns its victim into stone, like the Greek myth of Medusa. The Venus Gate organization chooses 160 people via a lottery to be put to sleep and while they are sleeping Venus Gate will look for a cure. While they are sleeping the progression of the virus will be slowed and then there could be a possibly of them finding a cure with more time. Instead of sleeping for years, like planed, they are awakened 48 hours later. Only to find the facility to be covered in thorns and no staff in site. There are also monsters who try to eat every one alive. Of the 160 only eight survive and have to fight their way out of the facility. They must figure out what has happened and if they will be able to be saved from the horrors they woke to and the virus that is still slowly killing them.
This movie has a lot of very good ideas and moments. But, they don’t come together well enough to make a good movie. It is a very interesting take on Sleeping Beauty. If the creator wanted to take a new spin on a classic fairy tale, that’s fine, but reading the story out loud in voice over is bad story telling. It not having enough confidence in your own story telling to get your point across. All this does is dumb down the audience and makes them feel like they wouldn’t be able to handle some thing more difficult.
There are many things that worked well and many elements that are good. There are just to many of them there and they all want to dominate the story instead of just letting one or two the main focus. The unstoppable virus that has no cure, to the putting people to sleep to try and find a cure, has all been done before but can work well if done well. The evil company that says they are saving people but are really doing experiments on them. A small group of survivors just trying to live in a new world that they have knowledge of while they are slowly dying. Trying to turn dreams into reality or experimenting on some thing that they really have no idea what it is. The all powerful computer trying to protect people or just doing the job they are programmed to do, but really has no concept of humanity. Then, the whole story with the twin sisters a movie could have easily been made just with their relationship. A twin killing her self to save her sister or a twin becoming their sibling after they die. An alien object giving humans power that they have no control of or understanding of. All of these ideas together do not work and make the story convoluted and hard to fallow. Also, this isn’t even every thing that is going on in the movie. If the story had been with just one or two of these ideas it would have been great or at least easier to understand.
The thing that really worked for this movie was the subtle moments. All of these moments were completely visual and would be easily missed if you aren’t watching. One of these moments was when Kasumi get her bracelet at check in. The woman checking her in realizes that her twin sister is not coming with her. Kasumi is leaving the person that she has been with her whole life. It goes even deeper then that too, their parents are dead. Them being separated means that they are both going to be alone for the first time in their lives. They aren’t just siblings they are twins and very close ones at that. They have never been alone in their lives and now they will be alone for the rest of their lives. For any one that would be extremely hard to go through with. An other moment, is when Marco and Ron are fighting in the wine cellar. There is a few seconds when they both stop and look at each other, if you see it with out really giving it much though, you think they just decided to stop fighting. But, you later realize they both saw Ron’s bracelet. Both know that it is pointless to fight. Were as every one else has days left, he only has hours and in those last hours he’s going to help every one else at the chance of getting out and living. These moments are great but they can’t save this movie. You need more then just little moments that are great.
The movie has great ideas, but to many of them. An interesting story, but tries to hard to make it different. It is a little convoluted and to packed to really let any of the ideas shine. If one or the ideas had been at the for front it could have been a good movie maybe even good.
Photo credit: King of Thorn, Sunrise Inc.