DVD REVIEW: RIGOR MORTIS / DIRECTOR: JUNO MAK / SCREENPLAY: LAI-YIN LEUNG AND PHILIP YUNG / STARRING: ANTHONY CHAN, CHIN SIU-HO, FAT CHUNG / RELEASE DATE: APRIL 27TH
A dingy apartment building inhabited by supernatural beings soon blows up into terrifying chaos. When suicidal actor Siu-Ho (Chin Siu-Ho) moves in, he attempts to hang himself but is saved by vampire hunter Yau (Anthony Chan) who also lives in the building. Soon after, a series of horrific incidents occur as the residents delve deeper into darker matters.
Rigor Mortis is a reinvention of the Hong Kong and Japanese horror culture whilst still paying homage to the classic 80's Chinese vampire movies such as Encounters of the Spooky Kind and the Mr Vampire series, which also starred our main protagonists. Writers Lai-yin Leung and Philip Yung have created a darker and even more morbid take on the vampire. The plot evolves over entwining stories full of heartbreak and dark secrets. With some help from Yau, Siu-Ho takes it upon himself to rid the supernatural forces that are terrorising his neighbours.
The CGI creates a depressingly drab mood yet you can still appreciate the effort of creating a visually stunning setting no matter how grim it is. Its damp and rotten walls are filled with vengeful ghosts which creep up on its victims with arachnid-like motions, very reminiscent of Japanese horror, except the camera doesn't shy away from the kills. There are some great motion effects at work with a little martial arts although it would have been better to see more especially since they have a vampire killer in the mix. There may be too much going on in this film, but director Juno Mak has made sure every character is significant.
This horror is not for the craven, there is no holding back the blood or the puke. Come to think of it, they probably chose such a grey colour palette to emphasise all the bloodshed. With the film's eerie soundtrack, it's a disorientating cocktail of death and decay with a sinister high pitch which seems to be relentless. When you think the film couldn’t get any more grim, its finale is a gaping hole left for interpretation, putting an interesting twist to what is a turbulent story.