The Tattooist

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The Tattooist
Tattoist poster.jpg
The Tattooist film poster
Directed by Peter Burger
Written by Matthew Grainger
Jonathan King
Starring Jason Behr
Michael Hurst
Nathaniel Lees
Robbie Magasiva
David Fane
Edited by Paul Maxwell
Distributed by Buena Vista International
Running time
92 minutes
Country New Zealand
Language English

The Tattooist is a 2007 New Zealand film directed by Peter Burger and starring Jason Behr, Nathaniel Lees, Michael Hurst and Robbie Magasiva among others. The film is the first in a series of official co-productions between New Zealand and Singapore.[1]


The film is described as a supernatural thriller in which Tattoo artist Jake Sawyer (Behr) is a global wanderer who explores ethnic themes in his designs. While he is in New Zealand he unknowingly plays a role in releasing a deadly spirit as he attempts to learn pe'a, the Samoan tradition of tattooing.



Principal photography commenced on 16 September 2006 in Auckland, New Zealand.[2]


The soundtrack contains music by The Mint Chicks, King Kapisi and Don McGlashan among others. The score is composed by Peter Scholes.


Critical reception has been mixed to negative for The Tattooist. Common criticism centered around the film's pacing, as reviewers from sites such as DreadCentral felt that the movie's plot was too padded and the concept too thin for the 90 minute film length.[3] Bloody Disgusting echoed the same sentiments and expressed frustration over The Tattooist, as they believed that the movie could have been "something fresh and original but instead mimicked a bunch of terrible films before it."[4] Shock Till You Drop criticized what they saw as an overabundance of backstory and exposition, explaining that "Too much time spent on explaining ‘why’ works against sustaining a sense of disbelief and The Tattooist is especially ponderous in this regard."[5] In a positive review, David Johnson of DVD Verdict stated the film is "a frantic, messy, nasty little horror flick and is worth checking out."[6]


  1. ^ Thompson, Wayne (19 June 2006). "Spirit of partnership as NZ and Singapore sign thriller deal". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 21 November 2011. 
  2. ^ Eyeworks Touchdown - Company > News
  3. ^ Kasch, Andrew (2008-06-23). "The Tattooist". DreadCentral. Retrieved 2013-11-09. 
  4. ^ Miska, Brad (2007-10-31). "The Tattooist". Bloody Disgusting. Retrieved 2013-11-09. 
  5. ^ Allard, Jeff. "The Tattooist (REVIEW)". STYD. Retrieved 19 December 2013. 
  6. ^ Johnson, David (2008-06-27). "The Tattooist". DVD Verdict. Retrieved 2013-11-09. 

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