Fox Searchlight Pictures (via iTunes Trailer) has released the first trailer for Korean filmmaker Park Chan-wook‘s first foray into English-language film with Stoker, a thriller starring Australia’s Mia Wasikowska, Jacki Weaver and Nicole Kidman alongside Matthew Goode and Dermot Mulroney. The director of Oldboy, Thirst and Joint Security Area is a favourite of the world cinema scene, and it will be interesting to see if he can make the smooth transition to Western cinema.
After India’s (Wasikowska’s) father dies in an auto accident, her Uncle Charlie (Goode), who she never knew existed, comes to live with her and her emotionally unstable mother Evelyn (Kidman). Soon after his arrival, she comes to suspect this mysterious, charming man has ulterior motives, but instead of feeling outrage or horror, this friendless girl becomes increasingly infatuated with him.
At The Reel Bits, we don’t just post trailers now, we review them too. This is Trailer Talk. Check out our thoughts after viewing the trailer below.
Park’s Stoker was listed as one of our most anticipated films for 2012, and this trailer confirms why we had such high hope for it. Of course, now it will be on our most anticipated for 2013, because it isn’t out until March next year. Produced for Ridley and Tony Scott’s Scott Free productions, the plot might have stepped straight out of a Gothic horror novel and that sits precisely where Park excels at bringing the creepy thrills. His Vengeance Trilogy, and in particular Oldboy, gave us insight into an unconventional family unit, and here he brings us something closer to Alfred Hitchcock’s most gripping work. Indeed, writer Wentworth Miller recently told Collider a few years ago that Hitchcock’s Shadow of a Doubt was the “jumping off point” for Stoker. “So, that’s where we begin, and then we take it in a very, very different direction”.
He goes on to say that the name “Stoker” consciously evokes Dracula author Bram Stoker, solidifying the Gothic vibe of the piece. Indeed, early in the production of the film, there were rumours that this would be an actual vampire film. However, the trailer shows a complex narrative between the women impacted on either side by the presence of “Uncle Charlie”, with Australian ex-pats clearly inexplicably drawn to psychopaths in Park Chan-wook films.
About the only fault of this trailer is that it might be giving away too much, with a few bodies and seemingly key moments jumping out for those cluey enough to piece it all together. This release can’t come fast enough.
Bits Rating: ★★★★½