TIFF 2013: Rigor Mortis Review

Rigor Mortis

Rigor Mortis

Midnight Madness

Director: Juno Mak

A visually stunning, but fleetingly entertaining mess, pop-star and first time filmmaker Mak bases a story so firmly steeped in Chinese folklore that it’s positively inscrutable to an outside audience. Not only is the story hard to follow, but it constantly contradicts itself and is so melancholy that it’s not even that entertaining to watch.

A washed up actor estranged from his family goes to live in a decrepit tenement building where he intends to kill himself, but the demons living in his apartment and some strange goings on involving vampires leaves him fighting for his survival.

Absolutely none of the character motivations in Mak’s film make logical sense after the initial set-up, there’s huge gaps in the story where nothing happens at all, and I at least felt like I was missing something huge going in. Reading up about Chinese vampire mythology and supernatural legends might help, but I’m not even sure at this point. It’s just confusing, and a dull, dragging confusing at that. Plus it comes with a frustrating ending that thinks it’s clever and can excuse some of the confusion, but it feels more like a middle finger to the audience. Still, it might be one of the most best looking films of the festival. Rundown buildings rarely look this great. (Andrew Parker)


Wednesday, September 11th, Ryerson Theatre, 11:59pm

Thursday, September 12th, TIFF Bell Lightbox 2, 12:45pm

Friday, September 13th, Scotiabank 9, 6:00pm

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