Halfway through Horror Fest and, I must say, it's so much fun. I know there are a lot of people out there thinking I could be doing more constructive things with my time, but this is what I like to do. Watch movies. Horror movies.
Last night's movie was another new release, which was kind of refreshing, since I've been down memory lane so many times in the last two weeks that I've started wearing holey jeans, plaid shirts and listening to Nevermind on repeat.
Synopsis: After India's father dies, her Uncle Charlie, who she never knew existed, comes to live with her and her unstable mother. She comes to suspect this mysterious, charming man has ulterior motives and becomes increasingly infatuated with him.
Tagline: Do not disturb the family.
This movie is in essence a simple whirlwind of what the fuckery. And you know how I try to keep my potty-mouth to a minimum around these parts, just in case there are impressionable youths and elderly persons reading. That said, what the fuck indeed. If you like twisted tales of dysfunctional families tied up in a nice package with gorgeous cinematography, then this movie is for you!
What starts off as a weird family dynamic quickly grows into one gigantic mess of 'that shouldn't be happening' and 'this isn't going where I think it is, is it?'. The synopsis of this movie will have you believe it is about India's infatuation with her uncle. This is so utterly false, in my humble opinion. It is actually about oddball Uncle Charlie and his obsessiveness with India. Thrown into the mix is Nicole Kidman's character, who is not only jealous of her daughter but who has this inexplicable need to be ravaged by her husband's brother. See, it's getting messy already.
Well, let's throw in not one homicidal maniac, but two. Don't worry, I won't spoil the plot and reveal who the crazy people are, but I will say, one uses a belt as their device of death and the other a long range rifle.
For a movie that is one hundred and ten percent fucked up, it's also beautiful. Exquisitely shot. Well-written. Executed to perfection. Director Chan-wook Park is brilliant. Yes, I said brilliant. Have any of you seen Oldboy? If yes, then you know what I am talking about. If no, then why the hell are you reading this blog? You should be watching Oldboy, followed by Stoker.
Regardless, Stoker is Park's first step into the tawdry world of Hollywood, and I have to say it is a smash. The best part being, the bigwigs in Hollywood didn't try to squash Park's flare. He managed to keep it dark, very controversial, by touching on such harsh themes as incest, matricide, rape, and murder. What I love the most about Stoker is the father. You don't know much about him, but from what is hinted you can gather he tried to keep India safe only to eventually be the catalyst for her demise, whenever that will come. And it will come.
Finally, the star of this movie is India, who is played by Mia Wasikowska - the phenomenal budding actress from Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland, The Kids Are All Right, and Lawless. What can I say, I'm a fan. I expect great things from her in the future. India is at once naive and ignorant, sheltered and plain, yet stunning, frightening, and wise. It's wonderful how much can be conveyed by a glance, tick of a clock, and very uncomfortable piano scene.
In the end, Stoker isn't your run of the mill horror, despite it's link in name to "Bram Stoker". Yes, it certainly has a vampiric theme, but in this you won't find any fangs or capes. What you will come across is seduction, temptation of the macabre and the hunter and prey cat and mouse game. It's horror is bold and subtle at the same time. This will not keep you up at night but at the same time it won't be easily forgotten.