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The Tattooist (2008)   rating

Review: written 2008

Refreshingly different premise, disappointing execution

 The Tattooist (2008)

New Zealand / Singapore co-production! That's not something you see every day.. and a fair stab at a Hollywood style movie with local flavour it is, too.

The token American, Jason Behr, is a disenfranchised tattooist, who stumbles across a Samoan group of tattooists in Singapore (and that's where Singapore gets a few postcard type shots for their financial contribution..) at a tattooists convention. As a result of a poor decision he makes there, he ends up with a curse on him that he then has to try and get to the root of - taking him to the home of the tattooists and trying to understand their mystical connection to their tattoos, in - of course - New Zealand.

It's not really a full blown horror - there are few real jumps, not that much blood, but rather it's a mixture of problem solving with a spooky element. And it's not terrible - you have to give them credit for finding a new topic to avoid the Hollywood staleness, with the flavour of Samoan culture. However, at the end of the day Jason Behr is just so limp in the role it's difficult to get invested in his fate, and the would be puzzle is pretty easy to spot. It tries rather hard to be thoughtful, but does not quite live up to being meaningful, and yet fails to put its foot firmly in the thriller camp either.. and so ends up nowhere.

So if you are looking for a change to the routine settings for this genre, try it out - but if you like blood and gore or abundant thrills, or thought provoking thinking-man's material, then look elsewhere..

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