The title of Stoker is supposed to be some kind of clue as to what's happening in this movie, but really, nothing can prepare the audience for the sheer silliness of the screenplay.

It's dull. It's vapid. Nothing here will stoke an audience into anything.

There are characters in Stoker, though, and they do things. For example, why is India Stoker (Mia Wasikowska) so withdrawn? Why does her uncle Charlie (Matthew Goode) show up out of nowhere? Why would Dermot Mulroney appear in yet another movie in which his only purpose is to die?

And what's with all the painstakingly executed lighting and camera work?

It's supposed to enhance the story (I guess) but it really ends up being a distraction.

Of course, if we're supposed to be distracted from how predictable everything is, maybe it's just as well.

Oh, right: What's the movie about? It's about mystery and killings and blah blah blah, but it's really about beauty and artifice. And the beauty and artifice of the aforementioned lighting and camera work has been done elsewhere, and better.

And really, we're supposed to believe an 18-year-old who's lived in one home her entire life has never been in her own basement before? Weak.

Directed by Park Chan-Wook
With Mia Wasikowska, Matthew Goode and Nicole Kidman
Regal DeVargas
92 min.