Nerdlocker Movie Review: Stoker




I could tell from the trailer this was going to be an odd movie but being odd doesn’t mean bad, not always at least. I really tried to like this but I was so bored the entire time. When it tried to be uncomfortable and tense it was just boring. In a 98 minute running time I think 30 minutes of it were just people staring at one another. The script seemed to be very light so a lot of filler was added with neat camera tricks and multiple musical numbers on the piano. The camera work was the best part of this movie, the unique angles and transitions, it was really impressive. However, as interesting as some of the camera work may be I personally felt that it also took focus off of the story. A zoomed in view of Nicole Kidman’s hair turns into tall blades of grass moving with the light breeze flowing through the air. It was very fun to watch but for a time I wasn’t paying attention to what a certain character was saying at the particular moment. This took me out of the emotion that the characters and plot are supposed to bring.

The Stoker’s have just suffered the loss of Richard, Evelyn’s husband and India’s father, to a horrific car accident. At the funeral India notices a man she has never seen before standing off in the distance. Later at the Stoker residence she learns this man is her uncle whom she has never met. Uncle Charlie was Richard’s younger brother and until now had been traveling the world for nearly the entire 18 years that India has been alive. They have never met and this fact bothers India; why has she never met this man? She knew when she looked at him that something was off, that he wasn’t quite the sweet and gentle soul he made himself out to be.

She is both disgusted by Uncle Charlie and infatuated by him. At first she will not go near him but as time passes she allows him closer and closer. So close that it becomes inappropriate and borderline criminal. As she slowly becomes seemingly more accepting of Uncle Charlie, an aunt she hasn’t seen in years suddenly and unexpectedly makes a surprise visit. From the moment she sees Charlie she seem uneasy and scared. The very sight of him makes her sick and she knows that something is wrong with him. She tries to warn Evelyn but she will hear none of it as they have never really gotten along, Evelyn and Aunt Gwendolyn that is. Aunt Gwendolyn then tries to approach India but she can never get her alone. As their evening comes to a close Gwendolyn gives India a hug and slips her a piece of paper, she then gets in a cab goes to a nearby hotel for the night. Fearing the uncertain behavior of Charlie, Gwendolyn tells him that she will be staying at a certain hotel but switches so he can’t find her.

Uncle Charlie is up to no good and everyone can tell except for Evelyn who only seems to be interested in Charlie for more carnal reasons. As bizarre as Uncle Charlie may be, everybody in the Stoker household isn’t exactly as innocent as they seem. The more time India spends around her Uncle Charlie the more her own personality changes. She becomes more hostile and aggravated with those around her. One night she meets up with a boy and takes him into the woods which isn’t like her at all to be so forward. She begins kissing and grabbing him sensually and he does the same. In the heat of the moment she bites him and that shocks her that she did that. As he moves in again she decides she wants to go home but the boy isn’t letting her go that easy. He begins forcing himself on her against her will. As he starts hurting her suddenly a belt wraps around his arms and picks him up. Charlie, holding the belt then throws the boy to the ground violently. He then signals to India to starting beating him, so she does. Eventually the boy is able to get free and grabs and pulls India to the ground.


At this moment Charlie’s true nature finally shows through as he takes the belt and wraps it around the boy’s throat. The boy is on top of India and she lays there watching him die. Charlie pulls a bit harder and the boy’s neck snaps. Later we see India in the shower replaying the incident over and over in her mind. It’s the action of what Uncle Charlie is doing and the fact that it’s him doing it that she becomes aroused and pleasures herself to the thought of him killing a boy. Remember, I said they are all screwed up.


From there on it only gets darker and more bizarre as India’s actions become more and more like her Uncle’s. The outcome may be stranger than you could imagine.

Maybe I’m just a messed up individual but none of it made me wince or cringe like it was supposed to. It was random interactions between characters, crazy camera work, and then we see a secret revealed about one of the Stokers. This is the entire movie and it could have been at least decent had the secrets they revealed been all that dark or twisted. It was a lot of what has been seen before in movies with similar plots as this. I just couldn’t connect with anyone so when something big happened I couldn’t care less. He killed someone?! Eh… It was all so underwhelming and the climax was anything but exciting or shocking. When the climax of the film happens your first reaction shouldn’t be, “Oh it’s almost over, thank you!” Others may like this and find it disturbing but it just didn’t click with me. The biggest challenge this movie posed for me was trying to stay awake the entire time. I did, but now I need a nap.

Rated R for: disturbing violent and sexual content
Runtime: 98 minutes
After Credits Scene: None
Starring: Mia Wasikowska, Nicole Kidman, Matthew Goode, Jacki Weaver
Directed By: Chan-wook Park

Out of 5 Nerdskulls
Story: 2/ Acting: 3.5/ Directing: 3/ Visuals: 3
OVERALL: 2.5 Nerdskulls


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Chase Gifford

"Cinema is the most beautiful fraud in the world"-Jean-Luc Godard