Thursday, 17 October 2013


High art applied to low art. Well, just how high that art is is subjective, of course, but it's at least high-ly entertaining! And though there's much I'll overlook in a film when it entertains me as Rigor Mortis did, there's not much I need to in this case. Vivid and graphic and sumptuously styled, Juno Mak's debut as director is a brilliantly bold, brash horror movie, embellished with all the tricks and tools in the book, strung together by Mak's craft and care for the outrageous pulp he's cooking with here. A former film star moves into a dilapidated apartment block in Hong Kong, where one of the inhabitants is set on opening a pathway to the world of the undead via the corpse of one of his neighbours. Mak is diligent in setting his scene, utilising swathes of the film's runtime to establish plot, character and location, but is wary of the demands of his audience too. Sequences both visually thrilling and emotionally touching may impede the pace of the film, but they sate one's appetite for minor narrative and stylistic catharsis in the early stages of a pure genre film such as this. Quite futile, alas, if Mak can't summon up a killer third act, which he obligingly does with gusto. The technical elements of Rigor Mortis are exemplary, with any number of memorable, gorgeous, potentially iconic horror imagery, and a scrumptiously thick, rich, overblown sound mix. Mak's dedication to these elements, integral to the success of almost any horror film, is sure and steady, and his flair as director is of particular note given that this is his first film in that capacity. His film may break no boundaries, push no envelopes, as so many films of its ilk may aspire to do, but it is just about as fun an experience as you can have at the movies, and that's enormously fulfilling.