- Juno Mak
- Lai-yin Leung, Philip Yung
- Anthony Chan, Siu-hou Chin, Kara Hui
- Running Time:
- 105 minutes
If youâ€™ve never seen it, this comedy horror is a must-watch. You wonâ€™t believe hopping vampires until youâ€™ve seen them.
Drawing on vampire myths from all over the world, vampire portrayals from an intimidating number of films and books, and horror tropes in general, Rigor Mortis is a visually stunning best-of compilation that has more emotional depth than you might expect.
A depressed actor (Chin Siu-ho) moves into an apartment complex and promptly attempts suicide, only to be rescued by Uncle Yau (Anthony Chan). Unfortunately, the suicidal thesp has given strength to the dark spirits who haunt the apartment. Thatâ€™s the least of their worries, as one of the blockâ€™s residents has brought a man back from the dead and heâ€™s about to wake upâ€¦
Rigor Mortis is a feast for genre fans. Vampire aficionados will tell you that several of the filmâ€™s cast and crew worked on the classic Mr Vampire, and there nods to everything from Nosferatu to Salemâ€™s Lot to Let The Right One In.
Director Juno Mak makes good use of his dilapidated setting to confront his characters with apparitions and demons, showcasing a stunning visual style with some hypnotic fight sequences.
Thereâ€™s also a lot more heart than youâ€™d expect, as the scriptwriters understand the old rule that itâ€™s the loss that make ghost stories effective, not the return. The old couple who are the catalyst for what will be the filmâ€™s only vampire (but not the filmâ€™s only monster) are played beautifully and their personal tragedy has real impact.
The filmâ€™s â€śeverything, and the kitchen sink as wellâ€ť attitude does lead to some mistakes, and as Rigor Mortis progresses thereâ€™s an increasing sense that plot points are being rushed over or ignored entirely.
While Makâ€™s decision to root the film in personal tragedy makes it affecting, it also forces us to examine the story in more detail than it can really take. Narrative decisions made in the final act threaten to alienate even the audiences who are happy to overlook any obvious shortcuts or the occasional misstep.
That being said, thereâ€™s more than enough here to keep us happy. Itâ€™s beautifully shot, frequently thrilling, often moving, and itâ€™s a smĂ¶rgĂĄsbord of horror references for genre lovers, who will have a blast.