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American tattoo artist Jake Sawyer wanders the world, exploring and exploiting ethnic themes in his tattoo designs. At a tattoo expo in Singapore, he gets his first glimpse at the exotic world of traditional Samoan tattoo (tatau), and, in a thoughtless act, unwittingly unleashes a powerful angry spirit. In his devastating journey into Pacific mysticism, Jake must find a way to save his new love, Sina and recover his own soul. Written by
THE TATTOOIST has the potential to be a great, off-beat horror production, a one-of-the-kind effort from New Zealand that celebrates the virtually unknown to the West Samoan culture by combining it with a traditional horror movie. Unfortunately, in reality it turns out to be a film that rips off the whole J-horror genre, in which a cursed tattooist finds himself menaced by a cheesy CGI spirit.
THE TATTOOIST has some potential, and indeed the storyline isn't quite so bad. I like how the whole tattoo sub-culture is developed and explored here, and in addition there are plenty of gruesome scenes to keep horror fans satisfied; if anything's going to put you off wanting to get a tattoo done, then this is the film. Sadly, though, in the end this is a film that doesn't really go anywhere, and in the end becomes a series of bloody deaths rather than anything insightful. Some insipid acting - particularly from the lead - drags the enjoyment factor down still further.
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