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The Boston Globe

Movies

Movie Review

A Korean horror visionary goes Hollywood in ‘Stoker’

‘Stoker” is Korean cult director Park Chan-wook’s first Hollywood movie, and if you haven’t seen his work before, you’re in for a jolt. His celebrated “Vengeance” trilogy — “Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance” (2002), “Oldboy” (2003), and “Lady Vengeance” (2005) — inhabit a zone triangulated by crime films, psychological suspense, and hair-raising horror, but they also have a rarefied chill that renders them fit for the art house. There may be no one since early Roman Polanski so adept at tightening the screws on audiences in clinically beautiful ways.

Now Park wants to do it in English, even though he doesn’t speak the language. But that’s all right, because he’s a control freak and a visionary, and his movies leave nothing to chance. There’s a shot in “Stoker” of a bloodied bird’s egg that dissolves into a close-up of Mia Wasikowska’s eye, and while I couldn’t tell you what it means, I can say it imparts a rapturous sense of threat.

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