After reading a couple of reviews I notice that this has been catching some flack in the plot holes department. The only plotholes I can think of is the lack of legal repercussion after the disappearance of the first victim. That, however, is rectified when the sheriff turns up shortly after the death of the second victim, and Stoker and Mia collaborate on fabricating a cover up story.
I guess you could make a case for a lot of character motivations, mostly related to the setup (estranged uncle visiting after husband’s death), and Mia’s sudden attraction to Stoker. But I say the magical realism of the overall story overrides the expected realism. But in all honesty, I don’t think it’s even fair to look for logical fallacies since part of the seduction is the sense of cinematic put-togetherness.
There is a mastery of the environment. The camera is fluid, it circles. The editing is along the same lines, we see close ups of many small things. This is written into the story as Mia having a supposed extra-sensory ability.
There’s something to be said for the 40-minute setup which provokes purposely various polarizing emotions. We are meant to access Mia’s interiorness, which we do cinematically, through the amplification of sound, the focus on small details. This is integrated to the entire house as a character. Every room registers as a different space through color, texture. The camera circles. The shoe boxes laid out on Mia’s bed in a circle might seem too easy…but it sticks, and it is echoed in the third act in a different context.
Nicole Kidman’s bedroom references Vertigo’s red restaurant.
The hunting metaphor, the stuffed birds, and other creatures.
The keys, the hope chests, the garden, the trees, the burst blister.
Maybe in the hands of another director there would be no integration. The imagery would seem forced, and there would be no seduction.
But it’s more than just skill, and here’s why: the story. The urges of sex, violence, and music, conflated as a creative motor. The switch from regular shoes to high heels. The seedy motel. The murder in the phone booth. The father’s belt, and the attempted rape.
No need to look elsewhere…