REVIEW: Stoker (2013)


Stoker (2013): A

Fantastic horror/thriller. It reminds me of those old Stepfather horror movies but it isn’t super-cheesy and obvious. In those movies, you know the Stepfather is a bat-shit serial killer because you watch him do most of his bat-shit killing. Stoker, however operates with ambiguity; the film isn’t dependent on dramatic irony. Is this guy a killer or just creepy? What’s really going on? Because of this prolonged uncertainty and torturous subtlety, this film has become one of my favorite thrillers.

Little 18 year old India’s daddy dies in an “accident” and it’s really tragic. Her mom, a grieving widow played by Nicole Kidman, cries a lot but tries to look on the bright side and bond with her daughter. SIKE! She drinks a bunch of wine.

Daddy’s brother, Uncle Charlie (played by the same sexy bastard who did Ozymandias in Watchmen) shows up to the funeral and takes it upon himself to move on in and become a father figure to little India and a hard dick figure for Nicole Kidman. He can speak French, cook, play tennis, and do other things that make it relatively easy for him to start feeling up Nicole Kidman. Nicole Kidman is fine with all this, but India isn’t, especially since ol’ Uncle Charlie is somehow charming like a Disney prince but also creepy as fuck. He reminds me of Patrick Bateman but clothed by Banana Republic.

How did daddy really die? Did Uncle Charlie have something to do with it? If he did kill daddy, will he kill again? India is the only one asking these questions and it’s up to the audience to figure out if her grief is getting the best of her or if Uncle Chuck is some kind of psycho.

I think Ebert said one of the scariest things about the movie Alien was the use of silence in the film. I think the same could be said of Stoker. There isn’t a Fargo-esque wood-chipper scene like in Stepfather, there is a lot of not-killing and really tense quiet scenes to make the audience question Uncle Charlie’s character. Oh, there’s some fucked up shit in the film. I promise. And some erotic shit. And some really violent shit. But you have to wait for it to be served to you. And when you get it, it’s tasty.

Cinematography/score are well done. Acting is great. There are some cool flashback scenes to help you figure out what might happen next. I recommend it.

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