Stoker (2013)

Stoker is a creepy, though initially uninteresting, story of a family in the aftermath of a tragic death. It’s actually quite a feat that director Park Chan-wook is able to achieve, with three individuals so shrouded in mystery but make us not really wonder what went down so long ago.

The movie is undeniably made well though. The score by Carter Burwell (of Black Swan) contributes to the atmosphere, as does the excellent sound design, heightening the cracks of an egg, the snip of scissors, and other disconcerning noises.

The flow also keeps the movie watchable, if not wholly engaging; it was easy to sit back and watch events unfold, but I wasn’t really concerned one way or the other of how things went down – UNTIL a jolting revelation came about an hour into the movie. Suddenly the pace didn’t seem quite so plodding when this element added an unsettling intensity to the story.
-consistently creepy atmosphere.

From there, though, the movie kind of fell apart; without providing spoilers, the end plot point just didn’t fit with the logic of the rest of the story. There is no reason why things turned out the way they did. And maybe that was the point, that ____ happens without a clear-cut explanation; but for a hyper-stylized and well-thought out film, this ending just sputtered.

I don’t mind films with disturbing content (re: my stellar review of Salofrom a few months ago) if there’s a point and message underlying it. With Stoker, I couldn’t really pick up on it beyond for the narrative’s sake… movies this dark should at least have a reason to be this way, and I don’t think this did.

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