Stalker Review: The Film Starring Vincent Van Horn, Christine Ko And Michael Lee Joplin Is A Timely Warning On Befriending The Unknown

Stalker Starring Vincent Van Horn, Christine builds up to a tense implosive climax and then collapses under the weight of its own anxieties

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Stalker Review: The Film Starring Vincent Van Horn, Christine Ko And Michael Lee Joplin Is A Timely Warning On Befriending The Unknown
To watch a  film called Stalker is as big a giveaway as a film called Rapist. You know what’s in store. If the film is called Stalker there will be some wacko providing unwanted and persistent attention. Here the stalker is a taxi driver named Roger (Michael Joplin) who develops an unhealthy attachment to Andy (Vincent Van Horn). Andy has lately moved to LA  after a nasty breakup in another town. His initial efforts to leave the past behind and settle in with his chosen new life is done with a  thoughtful air. The director knows recognizes and respects the heart of solitude when he sees a man keeping to himself. There is a dog for company and no real contact until he meets Sam(Christine  Ko) who doesn’t ask too many questions and isn’t afraid of shared silences.

Just what Andy needs. But then his new friend Roger doesn’t like it when he is neglected ignored and eventually blocked by  Andy. The plot sickens, as  Roger has his revenge,  trespassing into Andy’s house, hacking his computer, ghost-clicking into a porn-dating site, stealing all his money from his bank account, etc etc. It all begins to seem incredibly malicious and there’s not much the cops can do. In fact, the female cop on duty seems to be amused that a male stalker should be hounding a  male. Maybe  Andy should  try to pacify the pervert? The cop suggests with  giggly  disdain.

 So far, I liked the film’s perfidious energy, the  building up  of dark suspense  through an unbearable atmospheric  pressure.  But then  in an  endgame  manipulating the plot into being   a deliberate  shocker,  the  film finally comes undone. It’s not only  that  I had a difficult time accepting the credibility of the end-twist. I did! But  the more damaging side-effect to the climactic contortions is  the  way the emotions are blown up and subverted  until we reach a point of no return. I could feel the anxiety  of  the director to   ensure audiences’ interest remains intact  till the  bitter  end. He wants us  to remain seated  until the last  drop of blood. But it seems  way too desperate,like  a sex worker  trying all her  tricks to keep the customer happy.

 I came away from the thriller feeling exhausted and cheated. Because what Stalker lacks is a conscience and a  moral centre. It is a heartless pitiless  product willing to go  to any lengths to  thrill you. Sadly  there is  nothing thrilling about being thrilled  to  a  twisted point of no return. Stalker builds  up to a tense  implosive  climax and then  collapses under the weight  of its  own anxieties. Interestingly I have not seen the  work of any  of  the three principal actors  before. They are not bad.  But the real hero is  Los Angeles, the  city that  never  sleeps even if films about the city slip up   so badly.

Directed by Tyler Savage, Stalker gets 2 and a half stars. 

Image Source: Instagram/tsavage826, imdb