Stoker is one of those films that exactly is what it seems like on the surface. It never truly surprises or engages you as you might expect from a thriller. Not that Stoker is boring or feels like a waste of time. Director Chan-wook Park made sure of that.
The cinematography is beautiful and the film is very stylish although compared to for example his Old Boy it's toned down considerably. On a technical level this film is perfect. But my main objections are the lack of good characterization and compelling story. Wentworth Miller (Prison Break, Legends of Tomorrow) wrote the screenplay which definitely touches upon an intriguing subject. However there have been many films and TV Shows already about the topic that I simply could not get invested in the tale as much as intended. I basically called it from the beginning how events would play out and was therefore disappointed that the film failed to surprise me or at least catch me off guard. I am sure that if you dig deep enough a lot more is going on beneath the surface with all kinds of psychological and sexual themes to keep you occupied. However I didn't care about those themes since to me the characters weren't compelling enough. They weren't as twisted enough as promised. It could also be the acting since most of the actors play their roles calm and composed. If by any chance you were hoping for some fireworks acting wise like for example from Nicole Kidman then I will have to disappoint you. While her role had a function she did not matter as much as she could have been. It almost fell like she didn't want to be in the film. But wikipedia implies that she wanted to be part of this project. Mia Wasikowska can do a lot better than she did in this one. Although one could argue that she was required to play her character like she did.
Secretly I was hoping that the name Stoker would mean more than it did and was a tie in to writer Bram Stoker and his Dracula. Unfortunately this is not the case. Wentworth Miller did admit that he was influenced by the book. Although in what way exactly you will have to figure out yourself. Not that this ruined it for me but it would have been a real daring thing to do if he would have linked the Stoker family to the writer and his haunting tale. I mean what if Bram Stoker's Dracula wasn't pure fiction? What if Stoker had some issues that would have a certain impact on his descendants?
I have seen what Chan-wook Park can do. His Old Boy was compelling from start to finish and I still remember most of what that film was about. My memories concerning Stoker already are starting to fade and it has only been a few weeks that I have seen it. Stoker is a decent watch but don't expect too much from it otherwise you will be heavily disappointed. If you have not seen Old Boy yet then go watch that one immediately. And I am talking about the original not the remake.