The Tattooist

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The Tattooist
Tattoist poster.jpg
The Tattooist film poster
Directed byPeter Burger
Written byMatthew Grainger
Jonathan King
StarringJason Behr
Michael Hurst
Nathaniel Lees
Robbie Magasiva
David Fane
Edited byPaul Maxwell
Distributed byBuena Vista International
Ghost House Underground
Sony Pictures Entertainment
Release date
  • October 2007 (2007-10) (Hofer Filmtage)
  • August 9, 2007 (2007-08-09)
Running time
92 minutes
CountryNew Zealand

The Tattooist is a 2007 New Zealand horror 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]


Jake Sawyer (Jason Behr) is a global wanderer and tattooist who explores ethnic themes in his designs. While visiting Singapore to sell his craft at a local trade show, he swipes an ancient Samoan tattoo tool. After flying to New Zealand to resume his art, he meet up with a lovely Samoan woman named Sina (Mia Blake) and discovers the local Samoan culture. But Jake slowly learns that his stolen tool ends up unleashing an evil avenging spirit whom targets all of the customers that Jake has given tattoos to since his theft of the tool. While attempting to learn pe'a, the Samoan tradition of tattooing, Jake soon realizes that Sina is imperiled when she gets a tattoo from him and he must find a way to save her, and himself.



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 on 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 (23 June 2008). "The Tattooist". DreadCentral. Retrieved 9 November 2013.
  4. ^ Miska, Brad (31 October 2007). "The Tattooist". Bloody Disgusting. Retrieved 9 November 2013.
  5. ^ Allard, Jeff. "The Tattooist (REVIEW)". STYD. Retrieved 19 December 2013.
  6. ^ Johnson, David (27 June 2008). "The Tattooist". DVD Verdict. Retrieved 9 November 2013.

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