Stoker (2013) – Review

Stoker, an absorbing psychological thriller, is the absolute break from all the splatter stories described lately on YourPopcorner. Prison Break‘s Wentworth Miller is surprisingly the writer of Stoker ‘s fascinating dramatic story that can easily ravish even the most cynical fans of gore – as myself.

The story begins with a family tragedy as the Stoker family loses its father figure when the father Richard gets killed in a car accident. His daughter India (the astonishing  Mia Wasikowska ) and his wife Evelyn (a good but not great Nicole Kidman) are left alone in their mansion to carry on with their miserable and lonely lives.

India, a melancholic and somber young woman isolates herself even more from the rest of the world after the death of her beloved father. At the same time, Evelyn distant as always with her daughter runs the household as a proper housewife.

Their lonesome and mundane everyday life gets disrupted by the visit of Richard’s forgotten brother, Charlie (stunning Matthew Goode), who unexpectedly shows up in order to meet the two women and console them after their tragic loss.

His bulging light green eyes, his captivating stare and his seductive smile make him irresistible to Evelyn but unbearable to India. The young woman feels the tension between her mother and her uncle and senses that Charlie is not just a charming gentleman, but is hiding dark secrets. Secrets that he eagerly wants his niece to find out.

Gripping film that is Stoker combines drama with action and mystery with agony. As a viewer, you know that something is really wrong, you can feel it as creepy Charlie lingers in every corner of the house and literally stalks India. Matthew Goode excels as Charlie at expressing his weird love towards the young girl and his manipulative behaviour towards her mother.

Even though you can sense that he is the bad guy to look out for, he is strangely enough capable of overwhelming the viewer and making you hope that everything will eventually work out for the best.

Does everything work out for the best?

That is the best part. Mia Wasikowska portrays amazingly the troubled India who is in a constant battle between her violent inner instincts and her normality – if she has any.

The director, Chan-wook Park, has created beautifully alternating scenes showing the carefree and yet empty life of India running in the green fields of Tennessee, whilst depicting her aberrant relationship with her uncle and her mother.

Stoker ‘s first scene with India looking and feeling as a free adult, is eventually the film’s last scene as well. The story that intercedes exposes the gripping events that occurred during Charlie’s stay and the way he changed his and the two women’s lives.

It is definitely a movie worth watching not only for the outstanding performances but also for the enthralling plot that screams “watch me till the end”.

5 Responses to “Stoker (2013) – Review”
  1. thycriticman says:

    As for my experience on the film, the opinion I have tends to differ from most horror fans. I loved the performances, and thought the cinematography was fantastic. My only problem was the script itself. I found it boring due to how predictable it was for me. And some of the reactions characters had to things that happened just threw me off. On the contrary, I can still see why people loved it. Well written review as always Maria.


    • maria kriva says:

      The performances were really great indeed. The plot didn’t have many twists, as from a certain point you could really see where it was going, but by that time you’ve gotten so involved in the story that it was a bit hard to lose interest.

      Thank you very much, I honestly appreciate it! 🙂


      • thycriticman says:

        That is true. It is a shame that Matthew Goode does not act in many horror film roles. The guy is talented at playing the perfect psychopath character!

        No problem at all:)


  2. CMrok93 says:

    Good review Maria. It’s a very, very strange one, but I guess that’s better than being predictable and ordinary, so at least they got something right.


    • maria kriva says:

      It really was strange indeed but that’s what probably made it interesting. It is certainly not a masterpiece psychological thriller, but at least – as you said – stands out from the ordinary, predictable ones. 🙂


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