Writer, director and producer Juno Mak makes his feature directorial debut with Rigor Mortis. An homage to the Chinese vampire movies of the 1980's, it is a visually beautiful mashup of vampires, ghosts and zombies. Set in a dilapidated and decidedly creepy looking public housing unit in Hong Kong, this place houses every creature that goes bump in the night.
A washed up actor arrives at this haunted housing building with one purpose in mind; to kill himself. Well, in this very room, two twins killed their attacker and then themselves and the building is haunted by their spirits. The woman who found the twins' bodies now lives in the corridors of the building, taking care of a random kid with shocking white hair. Honestly, the first hour of the film is tedious, feels longer than it is and spends too much time dealing with things that will never matter at the end of the film.
That being said, if you can make it through the slow bit and one of the more disturbing rape scenes I've seen in a while (which is revisited numerous times), Rigor Mortis turns into a hauntingly gorgeous feast for the eyes. Imagine, if you will, A Tale of Two Sisters, Iron Monkey and The Matrix have a baby. Ta-da! You have Rigor Mortis. The way the spirits are filmed isn't necessarily unique, but it is really striking and beautiful. Blood flows very freely in this movie and it is a bit over the top, but it also makes sense with the story. Watching our unwitting hero battle a homemade vampire who has been possessed by the souls of two suicides is absolutely stunning. Lots of slow motion and wild and crazy acrobatics mixed with violence and gore equals a fun, engaging and visually stimulating second half. As with any Asian horror film, a lot of the spiritual and religious themes simply don't transfer well to a different culture and that is what makes up the bulk of the tiresome bits. Overall, the visuals and the climactic fight scene were well worth treading through the overly depressing beginning.