American tattoo artist Jake Sawyer (Jason Behr) explores and exploits ethnic designs from around the world. At a tattoo expo in Singapore, he glimpses the exotic world of traditional Samoan tatau in the work of the fiercely proud Alipati (Robbie Magasiva). Fatefully, Jake is attracted to Alipati's beautiful cousin, Sina (Mia Blake).
When Jake impulsively steals an ancient Samoan tattooing tool, heunwittingly unleashes a powerful angry spirit. Suddenly, his art takes on a frightening new dimension, exposing everyone he touches, including the feisty Singaporean Victoria (Caroline Cheong), to mortal peril.
Sensing the solution can only lie with the Samoans, Jake follows them to Auckland, where he runs into an old adversary, tattoo artist Crash (Michael Hurst) and a new one, the respected Samoan elder Aleki Va'a (David Fane).
His investigation takes him on a devastating journey into the dark heart of Pacific mysticism. There, Jake must recover his own soul if he is to save the woman he loves and escape with his life.
"The Tattooist" is a supernatural thriller, made by Singaporean and New Zealand co-production partners. The story centres on Samoan spiritual beliefs, in which the barrier between our world and the spirit world is very thin, leading events in one to have serious and chilling repercussions in the other.