Friday, June 6, 2014

Rigor Mortis
Released in Hong Kong October 24th, 2013, releases in US June 6th, 2014
1 hr 45 mins
Not Rated


Director: Juno Mak

Chin Siu-ho as Chin Siu-ho
Anthony Chan as Yau
Kara Hui as Yeung, Feng
Lo Hoi-pang as Uncle Yin
Richard Ng as Uncle Tung
Paw Hee-ching as Auntie Mui

Review by Stephen M.

Hong Kong films have always had an infatuation with ghosts and jumping corpses (vampires).  Rigor Mortis pays tribute to the Mr. Vampire franchise, brings both of these back in a terrifying way courtesy of Producer Takashi Shimizi known for his Ju-on movies.  The story centers on a haunted housing complex in Hong Kong.  But as one of the characters would say, all places you could possibly live are haunted.

The story starts off with Chin Siu-ho, playing himself moving into the housing complex.  He is fortunate to move in to apartment 2442, which of course the numbers in Chinese have an ominous meaning.  It doesn't help that the apartment had a murder and suicide before.  The story goes back and forth between the former tenants of this apartment as well as other tenants which is quite confusing at times.  In the end it's just one big chaotic cluster of hell on Earth as ghosts and vampires collide with the living.  Keep in mind that Chinese vampires are not what you would imagine Americans would describe as a vampire, i.e. the Bram Stoker kind.  The Chinese vampire is more of a cross between the American vampire and what Americans call a zombie.  The reason why is that a Chinese vampire shares all the weaknesses of an American vampire but lacks the sentience and desire for blood that are normally characterized of  vampires.

What I love about the film are the actors as well as the special effects and music that brings up the creep factor in the movie.  You can see Shimizi's influences in the appearances and movements of the ghosts.  Chin Siu-ho does a great job especially in the action scenes fighting the monsters.  Paw Hee-ching as Auntie Mui is amazing as well.  You could say that her love for her husband in the movie is the undoing of every one in the building.  A love story this is not though!

Overall, I enjoyed the film despite the many side stories  that are thrown at you and quirky ending.  The movie is in Cantonese with English subtitles.  If you have never seen a Chinese horror film, this is a good representation with many traditional elements at play.  If you would like to catch the film it's playing at City Cinemas Village East in New York beginning today.


Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , ,