South Korean filmmaker Park Chan-wook (Oldboy, Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance, Thirst) made his name with disturbing thrillers with splashes of aberrant sexuality and shocking body horror, and his English-language debut is a confident continuation of the director’s usual style and themes in a Shakespeare-via-Hitchcockian narrative. Stoker is a unique slow-burn thriller which is highly visually effective in creating an unsettling and disturbing viewing experience, with a unique screenplay by Wentworth Miller which will keep you on the edge of your seat just trying to figure out what will happen next.
Mia Wasikowska heads up the cast as India Stoker, an antisocial teenager whose father has just died in a tragic accident, leaving her and her mother (Nicole Kidman) to grieve. The death of her father also brings a visiting uncle (Matthew Goode), whose intentions are unclear. He draws closer to
mother, but seems to share more in common with the dark , who shared a particularly
adept skill at hunting with her deceased father. India
Things move slowly in Stoker, though this allows for the tension and suspense to build. We are not given a direct line into the thinking and logic of the film’s characters, and therefore their actions often come as a surprise. Park’s films invite us to watch the actions of his characters, rarely ever inviting us to empathize with what they are feeling. Some may find Stoker is too full of unlikable or disturbing characters, but the excellence in the filmmaking makes this a compelling film despite any emotional detachment it requires.
The Blu-ray release of Stoker includes a digital HD instant stream and download. The special features on the disc include a promotional featurette, three making-of features, a handful of deleted scenes and some red carpet premiere footage, including a performance by Emily Wells. There are actually quite a few extras for a small thriller like this.
Entertainment Value: 7.5/10
Quality of Filmmaking: 9/10
Historical Significance: 8/10
Disc Features: 8/10