The prolific director Takashi Miike made more than 70 films in his first 20 or so years in film. Among the best is Audition, a phenomenally creepy May/December romance gone very, very awry.
Audition tells the story of a widower convinced by his TV producer friend to hold mock television auditions as a way of finding a suitable new mate. He is repaid for his deception.
The story itself follows a far more linear path than what’s commonly found in Japanese horror, but the usual preoccupations with hair, decorum, and bodily horror still abound. My favorite quote from the movie: “The police tried to recompose her body. Three extra fingers and an ear came up.”
That’s just solid detective work!
Nearly unwatchable and yet too compelling to turn away from, Audition is a remarkable piece of genre filmmaking. The slow moving picture builds anticipation, then dread, then full-on horror.
Midway through, Miike punctuates the film with one of the most effective startles in modern horror, and then picks up the pace, building grisly momentum toward a perversely uncomfortable climax.
By the time Audition hits its ghastly conclusion, Miike and his exquisitely terrifying antagonist (Eihi Shina) have wrung the audience dry. She will not be the ideal stepmother.
Keep an eye on the burlap sack.