HOMUNCULUS on Netflix is a thriller fantasy movie from Japan. It’s very dark and has a beginning that I loved. The movie is based on Manga which shows in terms of both characters and plot. Read our full Homunculus movie review here!
HOMUNCULUS is a Japanese thriller fantasy movie on Netflix. It won’t be for everyone, but I suspect fans of Manga will like it. This movie is based on a Manga story which can be seen in both the visuals and the often stereotypical character arcs.
While I really enjoyed the beginning of this movie, it takes some turns (in a sexually violent way) that I did not care for. This absolutely ruined the movie watching for me and made it all-too-easy for me to guess the direction of the story. While I did like the ending, it has a final half that is very slow-burn in its pace.
Continue reading our Homunculus movie review below and find it on Netflix now.
A good choice for fans of Japanese genre movies
While I am a huge fan of genre movies from South Korea, I always find that Japanese genre movies are hit or miss for me. Or rather, genre moves from Japan tend to have moments I love and (almost always) several I really don’t care for.
As I was watching the plot in Homunculus evolve in a classic Japanese way, I found myself thinking about how it could be remade in South Korea. That would probably be a movie I would love, whereas this movie was a very ambivalent movie-watching experience for me.
So, why am I talking about movies from South Korea while reviewing a movie from Japan? Very simply because I am very aware that I am not the ideal audience for Homunculus. It has all the elements from Japanese cinema that I do not enjoy. For me, it started out great, and then it went down those paths, that I never enjoy.
For me, what really worked at the beginning of Homunculus was the visuals. However, the movie does also change direction a bit after the scene with sexual violence [that ruined a lot for me]. Instead of still being very focused on the visuals and mind games (or abilities), it becomes a slow-burn mystery.
Also, I loved Ryô Narita as Manabu Ito, the medical intern turned mad scientist, who goes around drilling holes in the skulls of people. Ryô Narita can look so different from one scene to the next and every scene with him was the best of the movie. In my book, anyway.
I should also mention that the characters are very intriguing in general. The thing that didn’t work for me was when it came to all the old tropes. Women are either whores or Madonnas. They’re meant to be rescued or rescue someone else – and both tend to involve sex in some way. It’s lazy and tired – and does nothing for me!
Watch Homunculus on Netflix now!
The director of Homunculus is Takashi Shimizu and he is one of the great Japanese directors on the International scene. He directed the iconic Japanese horror hit Ju-on movies and the US remake (or Americanized version) with The Grudge, as well.
This new Netflix addition is based on a Manga by Hideo Yamamoto, which should also be a familiar name if you like Japanese genre productions. He also wrote the Manga that Ichi the Killer (org. title Koroshiya 1) was based on – which I did actually like. Probably because it had more of the elements I enjoy in South Korean movies.
Essentially, I can give it a roaring endorsement, because I don’t care for many of the plot elements. I do, however, suspect that fans of genre movies from Japan would really and truly like this. Especially if you also like Manga stories in general. And I won’t bash a movie for being what it should, just because it’s not “my jam”.
Homunculus is out on Netflix worldwide from April 22, 2021.
Director: Takashi Shimizu
Writer: Hideo Yamamoto (manga)
Stars: Ryô Narita, Gô Ayano, Anna Ishii, Yukino Kishii, Seiyo Uchino
Truth and illusion blurs when a homeless amnesiac awakens from an experimental medical procedure with the ability to see people’s innermost traumas.