The Tattooist is portrayed through it’s trailer as a freaky, scary horror, but in fact leans more towards the spiritual, supernatural horrors that the Japanese are experts at making.
Jack Sawyer is a talented tattooist who’s lost his way, eager just to make money, he’s lost his soul in the pursuit of money, but when he witnesses the passion and dedication of traditional Samoan tattooing it rekindles his passion. Unfortunately his darker side leads him to steal from the Samoans, and through a series of events manages to give control of his craft to an angry Samoan spirit.
Heading to Auckland he hooks up with an old mate and stats working for him, tattooing a number of clients, including his new love interest, but when his clients start dieing horrible deaths – deaths where the tattoo has taken over their entire body leading to massive haemorrhaging with ink replacing their blood, Sawyer realises he has to uncover the dark secret behind the tool he stole, before the beast takes the life of his girlfriend.
The movie is very well done, and refrains from being too much of a splatter and instead keeps the pace moving through a dedicated story line that never looses it’s focus.
Demonic possession and speaking with the spirits are some themes that may be off putting to some viewers, but what really appealed to me was the cultural differences between the Samoan focus on family lineage, and the European/American focus on self and the present. It kind of mirrors the beginning of the book of Matthew where the genealogy of Jesus is presented as the foundation of the entire book.
Of course Samoan culture isn’t perfect, and the honour code, the fear of loosing face, is in reality what cause the whole mess in the first place.
The Tattooist is a very convincing thriller, with some great special effects that give an interesting look at some cultural differences and the reality of a spiritual world.
Food for thought
Can spiritual entities control physical outcomes?
Reviewed by: Jonathan Read.
Genre: Horror, Thriller.
Actors: Jason Behr, Mia Blake, Nathaniel Lees, David Fane, Robbie Magasiva, Michael Hurst, Tim Balme.
Director: Peter Burger.
Release Date: 30 August, 2007.