Vampires are not just for Twilight.
Get rid of all the glitter, melodrama and cheesiness and you have a "Rigor Mortis," a Japanese horror flick that pays tribute to the classic "Mr. Vampire" series and held it's US premiere at Fantastic Fest at the Alamo Drafthouse Lakeline on Friday evening.
A visual stunner and engaging thriller, Juno Mak's debut feature manages to expertly walk a fine line between horror, fantasy and homage to the "Mr. Vampire" characters and actors that inspired "Rigor Mortis." In fact, many of the cast members of "Rigor Mortis" are actors directly from "Mr. Vampire" itself.
Siu-hou Chin, former "Mr. Vampire" star, leads in a role in which he is largely playing a version of himself. An aging actor mourning the loss of his wife and child, Chin moves into a cold and decrepit old high rise full of similar aging residents with their best years behind them.
Of course, the room Chin moves into is by far the worst and creepiest of the whole building. The locks haven't been removed for ages and the security gate has been chained shut. When the building's long serving security guard Uncle Yin opens the room for Chin for the first time, the aura is cold and dark. Something terrible has happened here.
Something very terrible indeed.
What Chin does not know is that the chain of terrible events in his apartment and the entire building are long from over. He has set in motion a series of fantastical events that will affect himself and his fellow residents and leaving them fighting the most powerful of supernatural foes...a vampire created with haste and evil.
Mak's "Rigor Mortis" stands out as something to write home about is Mak's brilliant direction and eye for the most beautiful shot possible for scenes that could seem dull or familiar without expert care. The fact "Rigor Mortis" is Mak's first feature becomes harder and harder to believe as every gorgeous and exhilarating frame hits the screen.
The factors that may keep people from falling in love with "Rigor Mortis" are the level of gore as well as the dark colors and slow pace. However, the story always seems to get a kickstart when it needs it most and keeps you engaged and in awe throughout.
A first feature to remember for years to come, "Rigor Mortis" will surely satisfy your love for new and adventurous Asian cinema.