Director: Takashi Miike. Story by: Ryū Murakami
Starring. Ryo Ishibashi, Eihi Shiina. Japan. 1h 43m.
Famed as being one of the breakthrough modern Japanese video nasties, the Audition has a sacred place in the hearts of anyone who likes the gore and chills turned right up, from the granddaddy of Japanese bizarre cinema, Takashi Miike.
Based on the chilling horror novel The Audition By Ryū Murakami (thanks to @GiornataNera for the info, if you ever need someone awesome to follow on twitter check out this wonderful guy) and it captures an mesmerizing dreamlike feel when things start to get weird the “deeper” throws of the movie.
All starts out well for Shigeharu Aoyama (Ishibashi) a widowed TV producer whose life is gradually getting slower and more depressing, but with pressure from his work buddies and watching his son’s blossoming romance he decides that it’s time to find a new partner so he hosts an audition for a prospective wife and falls for an ex ballerina, but as he starts to build up their relationship. Slowly things become foggy as he begins to dig deeper into her past, and starts to find a disturbing history of mutilated and dead ex boyfriends.
It’s quite a low budget flick in terms of its production and at times it feels as if it were filmed on a home camcorder but what can’t be ignored is the deeply disturbing nature of the film and how it creepily unfolds. Asami is like a Yokai or some kind of creature from another dimension, seemly human but so very supernatural, her apartment plays host to a mutilated ex that she predominantly keeps in a sack and the ghosts of her past life, a dance instructor and father and abuse is hinted at.
Once Asami really latches onto a guy the duality in her persona is magnified, and she becomes day and night. Asami manages to put on a sweet innocent girl persona and when she’s ready for the mutilation session in the third act where she dresses up in a Hostel (2005) style kill outfit. And whispers “deeper deeper” as she’s dissecting; which sounds kinda like “tickle tickle” which is uber creepy, the torture scenes are immensely graphic and in contrast to the rest of the film seem very different, this distant world that comes from the imagination of a deeply damaged woman’s brain. The mutilated guy living in a sack in the living room has been so highly conditioned, he never tries to escape and is fed vomit in a dog bowl…
Being one of Miike’s early films it should have been a warning of what he was able to release into the world of psychotropic cinema, but compared to his later films this is tame(ish), he upped the ante with later and greater titles such as Visitor Q (2001) and Dead or Alive (1999) where the surreal became more on the cusp of the stories and where the mania got right into your face, he has a talent for taking the familiar and transforming into something quite sinister and takes female revenge to whole new levels, Single White Female (1992) on meth kinda levels, to put it simply this is not for the squeamish.
R – Ichi the Killer (2001), Visitor Q (2001), Piercing (2018)
L – A-Z of Japanese Horror, Films not to watch on a first date
5s – Takashi Miike