Rigor Mortis

2013

Action / Horror

2
IMDb Rating 6.3 10 5059

Synopsis


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820.14 MB
1280*534
Chinese
NR
24 fps
1hr 43 min
P/S 111 / 296
1.69 GB
1920*800
Chinese
NR
24 fps
1hr 43 min
P/S 129 / 344

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by moviexclusive 7 / 10

Visually stunning and unexpectedly moving, Juno Mak's homage to the 'vampire' movies of the 1980s is also an unusually ruminative piece of meta-cinema

You probably wouldn't figure pop star turned actor Juno Mak for a serious filmmaker; after all, the singer cum fashionista is best known for being one of Gillian Chung's ex-boyfriends. That is precisely why his directorial debut 'Rigor Mortis' will take you by surprise. A visually stunning homage to the 1980s heydays of Hong Kong cinema when the vampire genre was very much alive (mostly in the form of the "hopping vampire" horror comedies), it proves itself to be so much more than a feast for genre fans, packing a surprisingly amount of emotional depth and establishing itself as a refreshingly different kind of meta- cinema.

Vampire aficionados will immediately recognise lead actor Chin Siu-ho from the opening scene, one of the last surviving alum of the classic 1985 'Mr Vampire' series (Mak dedicates the film to the two other deceased members, Lam Ching Ying and Ricky Hui) who plays himself as a washed-up movie star who moves into a dilapidated tenement building to commit suicide. That act of despair introduces him to Uncle Yau (Anthony Chan Yau, erstwhile drummer of the 1970s band The Wynners as well as Chin's supporting star from 'Mr Vampire'), a veteran Taoist vampire hunter who now runs his own food stall around the neighbourhood.

Besides Uncle Yau, Chin also gains the attention of the other mostly elderly tenants of the complex played by equally venerable veterans of Hong Kong cinema. Nina Paw and Richard Ng are a devoted couple whose bond of love is tested when one of them meets with an accident and winds up dead. Chung Fat is a local temple priest who happens to be dabbling in the backroom of his apartment in the dark arts. Kara Hui is a single mother to an albino boy whose tragic past is linked to the apartment which Chin moves into. And last but not least, Johnnie To regular Lo Hoi Pang is the building's sole security guard who watches the comings and goings of the block with a wary but watchful eye.

As one of the screenwriters, Mak (who co-writes with Philip Yung and Jill Leung) likes to keep his cards close to his chest. There is no hurry in the way he slowly reveals the backstory of each of the characters, opting instead to build an eerie and unsettling atmosphere of suspense and dread with every frame. While that does demand a certain level of patience from its viewer, Mak is surprisingly effective at getting under the skin of his audience with a strong visual style heavy with musty subdued colours. The influence by producer Takashi Shimizu of 'The Grudge' is undeniable, but Mak holds its own with some truly hypnotic images in slo-mo no less.

Borrowing a leaf from his 'Revenge: A Love Story' director Wong Ching Po, Mak stages the action sequences with a fair amount of graphic violence. Yes, more faint-headed audiences should take note - some of the scenes not only get bloody, but can get rather disturbingly violent, and will surely startle the more squeamish at heart. But even as Mak clearly intends for his film to appeal as well to a younger audience who crave for such vivid details, he never does get excessive, demonstrating a fair bit of restraint in scenes which could have easily been much more explicit.

Mak also pairs his gory thrills with a generous helping of visual effects, relying less and less on his natural surroundings and more on lavishly designed dreamscapes that only make sense if one understands the rituals at the heart of the film (indeed, that's something very likely to be lost on a Western audience). Truth be told, the VFX-heavy climax was somewhat alienating to watch at first, but eventually made complete sense when viewed in the context of the love-it-or-hate-it coda. Don't say we didn't warn you - it doesn't quite end the way you want it to; instead, Mak throws in a last-minute twist that will undoubtedly throw you off-kilter, but in our opinion, is a unusually elegant eulogy to a genre and its stalwarts who have long since gone out of fashion.

Unmistakable throughout the film is a distinct sense of loss and regret, whether in the form of a loving wife who tries all she can to preserve the life of her deceased husband or the inability of vengeful spirits to let go of their tragic past or even an individual's desolation at having f**ked up his life with his loved ones. The same could be said of the veterans who make up the ensemble cast; despite being icons in the past, they have largely been forgotten by modern Hong Kong cinema, and just going by each of their compelling performances here, reason to mourn for the passing of a significant era of the industry. Like 'Gallants' from two years ago, there is a palpable sense of nostalgia one gets watching these veterans take to the screen like they never left.

And 'Rigor Mortis' deserves to be appreciated in that very light, as a tribute to the 'keung si' genre as well as Mak's personal thoughts on their fortunes since. The fact that he is a newcomer to filmmaking makes this an even bigger triumph for Mak, who delivers a thrilling and unexpectedly poignant horror movie steeped in its own unique visual aesthetic. We're not denying that there will be those who dislike Mak for pulling the rug from under their feet right at the end, but it is to us a graceful and thought-provoking turn that makes it an unusual and inspired piece of meta-cinema.

Reviewed by angelvaldric 8 / 10

A movie with complexity, reflecting upon the double life of an actor...

At first, I wasn't clear about what happened at the start, then, clarity formed closer to the end of the movie when parts of the plot started tying up, and finally, got confused again by the ending. I must confess that I initially thought the ending botched the entire movie, sort of anti-climatic (much like The Myth, when Jackie Chan refused to acknowledged his past, making the entire movie a scam)

Then, I started reading about the main actor (Chin Siu-Ho's) real-life issues, and using his issues, relooked at the movie in its entirety, and finally, I understood the movie and how it ended. Bear in mind, that my interpretation is perhaps but 1 perspective of the movie. Someone else could have a different view. However, I must say that this movie is complicated so much so that anyone who goes to watch this without (1) an understanding of Chinese folklore, (2) understanding that the actor is acting as himself and (3) understanding a bit of the actor's past, may think the movie is really bad and would give a bad rating on IMDb.

All said, here's my SPOILER ALERT. I will be commenting on the ending now.

The ending seems to be an alternate reality, where every character has a different path, and the main lead died by hanging, without any ghosts, or vampires appearing. It seems pretty mundane, death is also mundane (no great sacrifice, no dying with a cause).

And yet, that's where the gist of the ending is. Whereas in the 1st death, where the lead lay dying after a major combat with the vampire-ghost, the final scene was just a boring "he hung himself"

When you looked into the real-life history of the main actor, he had issues, he was a rather successful actor in his hey-day, when vampire movies were extremely popular, and he had lots of movies to work on. Later, as interest in vampire movies die down, he began to have less work, having to work backstage, his career going downhill, and also his divorce with his wife. Chinese have a saying, that "Real-life is like a movie, and movie is like real-life", thus they can become murky and muddled up for an actor.

The movie thus, in my view, is deliberately murky and muddled, with the majority of the movie reflecting upon the movie aspect of the actor's life, and the ending reflecting upon the real-life aspect of the actor's life, that despite how a movie can be dramatic, life is just mundane.

Also, that the movie-aspect and the mundane-aspect of the movie seemingly happening at the same time (both started with his moving into the apartment, and both ending with him dying) reflects upon the double life an actor lives (the movie aspect, and the real-life aspect) In the end, his 1st death may be representative of his wanting to leave showbiz on a high note, and his final ending death may be representative of his willingness to accept reality, that leaving on a high note will not happen, and to let go of his past and look towards the future.

I view the final scene, when his son came to identify his body, as a representation that he is putting his past to rest, and embracing his future with his family.

Anyway, that's my interpretation. All in all, a movie with complexity, not just a pure horror movie. Quite a good one in my opinion, so 8/10 for me.

Reviewed by ASouthernHorrorFan 9 / 10

My Review Of "Rigor Mortis"

"Rigor Mortis" is Hong Kong's call-back to new resurgence of horror/fantasy. Billed as a feature film inspired by a popular the popular Vampire films of the 80's. this movie gives us a dark, wondrous nightmare. Starring Anthony Chan, Siu-Ho Chin, Kara Hui, Hoi-Pang Lo, Richard Ng, and Hee Ching Paw. The plot revolves around an ex actor on a downward spiral, longing for death, who moves into an apartment tower where realm of supernatural and humanity are entwined.

"Rigor Mortis" offers a fantastical fantasy world of horror, drama and Hong Kong action. The story is multi-layered with lives tangled in a hellish fate. There are elements of melodrama and gore that move in a wonderful ballet of emotion and carnage. I feel that the story works as a modern retelling of some ancient Chinese fable, the concepts and character development seem so complex and powerful that it just screams of morality wisdom from the past. Either way it is a tale that embraces both the old supernatural beliefs and contemporary style that proves Hong Kong's dominance over this blended fantasy/horror genre.

The special effects and soundtrack utilized in "Rigor Mortis" is top notch. The sounds are creepy, often creating a dark atmosphere of desperation scene after scene. The sets where depressing, lifeless tombs of fading lives that would send chills up Takashi Shimizu and Clive Barker's backs. "Rigor Mortis" uses some pretty spectacular CGI and practical effects for the fantasy and horror elements. Epic visual moments weave into the film in true whimsical opulence while the blood soaked gore combined with the chilling horror scenes create a nightmare fantasy that captivates and entertains. Just based on "Rigor Mortis" as an independent entity untethered from it's inspiration, homages and such I found this to be one of the best horror/fantasy films that I have ever seen. "Rigor Mortis" is Juno Mak's masterpiece and a must see film!

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