DVD Review: 'Stoker' is a highlight of a mediocre year

More than halfway through this as yet mediocre year, "Stoker," the English-language debut of Korean director Park Chan-wook — whose masterpiece, "Oldboy," has been remade by Spike Lee for release this fall — remains one of the two or three best (or at least most interesting) films to hit theaters. It's a strange slow-burn horror movie whose virtues may not please the usual horror film audience.

The plot is a presumed homage (or a shameless ripoff, depending on your tolerance for such things) to Alfred Hitchcock's 1943 "Shadow of a Doubt." Mia Wasikowska plays a strange teenager whose even stranger uncle (Matthew Goode) moves back to the family house and starts courting both mom (Nicole Kidman) and, in a surreptitious way, daughter.

The story is intriguing but not the main attraction. Park employs a deliriously off-kilter style in which the editing is often provocatively ambiguous. On the Blu-ray, the dazzling visuals are wonderfully rendered, and the creative use of sound is (on my system, at least) more apparent than it was in the theater.

Though there is no commentary track, the disc is loaded with extras, starting with a half-hour "making of" featurette and five short, more focused pieces (some of which, however, duplicates parts of the "making of"). There are three deleted scenes that total 10 minutes; the best of these is a more visually explicit cut of the final death scene. In addition, there is a performance of the theme song by Emily Wells, several stills galleries, and 15 minutes of footage of the premiere. Does anyone really care about the last?

"Stoker" (Fox Searchlight Home Entertainment, Blu-ray, $29.99; DVD, $22.98) 


ANDY KLEIN is the film critic for Marquee. He can also be heard on "FilmWeek" on KPCC-FM (89.3).

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