Movie review: “Stoker” might make you squirm

By
From the March 21, 2013 edition

If the words “From the director of ‘Oldboy’” don’t give you a little anticipatory cringe, well, you probably haven’t seen “Oldboy.”

Chan-wook Park’s 2003 South Korean revenge tale is a gut punch of a movie, the kind I’m careful about recommending. So color me pretty interested to see what he does for his U.S. debut.

“Stoker” might not be quite as much of a punch, but its slow-dripping tension is pretty squirm-worthy. It’s a horror story more likely to elicit “ewwwws” than screams.

India Stoker (Mia Wasikowska) is a typically morose teenage girl who is coping with the sudden death of her father. In the wake of his death, a mysterious uncle (Matthew Goode) shows up at the house.

India knew nothing about her father’s brother, though her mother (Nicole Kidman) seems to share a past with him.

Much like “Oldboy,” the less you know about the plot, the better — but similarly know you’re in store for some “ewwwws.” Mainstream audiences probably aren’t gonna be on board for this.

Park is going a little Hitchcock here, heavy on the symbolism and seeking a disconcerting sense of dread — and, of course, your dread is well-founded.

Creepy good performances all around — especially Goode — round this one out. It’s a little too art-house for some of the horror audience, but if the porridge is right, you’ll eat it up.