Runtime: 1h 43m
Rated: Not Rated
Director: Juno Mak
Writers: Philip Yung, Lai-Yin Leung, Juno Mak
Stars: Siu-Ho Chin, Kara Wai, Hee Ching Paw
“[For] Autie Lai, a bowl of white rice with the Soup of the Day; but to go.”
“Auntie Lai passed away last month.”
“So? She still needs to eat, doesn’t she?”
Initial: This was another change-up from my initial list. There have been many. Vampires? Are there vampires?
What Did I Think:
Rigor Mortis is based in Chinese folklore and is a homage to the Mr. Vampire franchise of Hong Kong movies. I know *nothing* about either of these. Maybe, that was a good thing because I watched this film with no preconceived notions. Some of the reviews are a bit grumpy because the tone is apparently different from Mr. Vampire (1985) and many people found the story hard to follow.
I did not find it difficult, plot-wise, because it seemed to me from the outset to almost be an anthology movie. A suicidal actor moves into a dilapidated apartment building. I probably would have been disappointed if we hadn’t peeked in at the dark stories of his fellow residents. There is Yau, a washed up vampire hunter, and Gau, a not-so-good priest. There is also Meiyi, who would like her dead husband back, and, oh, the vengeful ghost twins who haunt the actor’s apartment. All these characters and stories twist around each other nicely. The end has a tiny bit of a twist which I was fine with.
And I love the look of this film. Much of it is in a very desaturated palette, which of course makes colors pop when colors are used. There are also different looks to the different supernatural beings. For example, the ghost women are sort of glitch-y and tendril-ly; the “vampire” is more grounded. The action is heightened with a very magic kung-fu feel to it.
Rigor Mortis was a really pleasant surprise. One of the more enjoyable films I’ve watched this month.