For the love of cinnamon, it’s Burl! Ha ha, I have a new movie to review today, and it comes from the director of that peculiar picture Oldboy! This new one is an American picture though, and it’s called Stoker! It’s a strange and creepy movie, dripping with atmosphere but maybe not totally successful! Still, it’s memorable in its way!
The Stoker family live in a big white house somewhere just outside of town, and they’re made up of a mother, a father and eighteen year-old India! But dad is totaled in a violent motoring accident, and the next thing you know his little brother Charlie shows up! Charlie is pretty menacing, and because they call him Uncle Charlie, I started to think that maybe this was a remake of that fine Hitchcock picture from years ago, Shadow of a Doubt! It turns out that it was inspired by that movie, but isn’t intended as a remake!
Charlie’s menacement is subtle at first, but after a while we realize he is full-on bonkers, and there are flashbacks of various types which explain all this a bit! Old ladies seem to be particular favourites of his, victim-wise, but he’s not all that picky in the end! The Stoker home quickly acquires a hothouse atmosphere, and if there isn’t actually Virginia creeper drooping off the gables, there certainly might as well be!
I won’t go into the particulars of the story much more than this – there aren’t a whole lot of twists and turns, but as other reviewers before me have stated, it’s more of an atmosphere piece that benefits from a lack of specific foreknowledge on the part of its audiences! There are some surprising cast members in the picture too, aside from the central trio! Film person Harmony K*rine appears as an art teacher, and there is also a special appearance from Ralph Brown, well-known from his role as Danny in that great picture Withnail & I, as, of all things, a Southern sheriff! Ha ha, I think Ralph Brown might well be the British Elias Koteas – that’s my theory and I’m sticking with it!
The movie also looks very nice, and is highly stylish! The young lady, India Stoker, is very pretty indeed, and Uncle Charlie is a handsome fellow! Altogether it’s an unusual movie of the sort you wouldn’t expect to be made in these days of sequels, remakes, franchises and adaptations! It suggests a lot more than it spells out, which is a very nice change! For that reason alone it’s very welcome, and it pulls off some pretty unique effects!
I was hoping for a little more labyrinthine craziness, I do admit, and there are some loose ends and overwrought sequences which count as non-enhancing flaws! It’s generally a work of quality, however, and I give Stoker three blood-soaked honeybees!