Foreign Extremes: Audition

Not many films have garnered the praise that Audition has since its release back in 1999, and rightfully so.  Quentin Tarantino has called it a masterpiece, Rob Zombie stated that it’s one of the creepiest movies he’s ever watched.  Eli Roth and the Soska sisters each spoke on the influences it’s had on their filmmaking.  From people fainting and walking out of film festivals, to winning awards and further solidifying the career of director Takashi Miike, Audition has quite the history.
A widowed husband named Aoyama decides to screen girls at a fake movie audition to find a new wife.  After selecting a mysterious girl named Asami, he discovers she is much more than meets the eye.
As a fan of extreme horror and brutal cinema I will be first to say that this film doesn’t fit the bill and in terms of gore it doesn’t have much to offer, especially when compared to Miike’s body of work.  But what it does have is slowly burning suspense, it keeps the viewer on the edge of their seat just waiting for all hell to break loose, and when it finally does you are left begging for more.
In a pivotal moment Aoyama puts everything together and we are shown just how insane Asami is. If you are opposed to being shown someone who has been mutilated and kept alive by eating vomit, then this movie probably isn’t for you. I said earlier that the gore isn’t too extreme, but watching the finale feels similar to hearing nails on a chalkboard. It just hurts you.  It hurts you to watch the torture the main character endures even though it is short-lived.  Audition famously had record numbers of walk outs and paramedic calls during its festival run and that built on the infamy that it has.
Audition is a great movie, and it would be knocking on a perfect 10 out of 10 if it wasn’t for one thing.  The ending! I’m keeping this review pretty much spoiler free and I will say that in my personal opinion, I wasn’t happy with the way Audition closed.  After some of the best scenes ever put on the screen we are left with a very dull conclusion.  In most cases that would be a death sentence for a movie review, but luckily for Audition the rest of it is so good that one bad thing doesn’t wreck it entirely.
I recommend Audition to almost everyone, I think it’s pivotal in cinema and a turning point for the horror genre, especially in Japan, though it really doesn’t fall into line with other extreme Japanese horror films.  Also, Audition can be a great option for horror fans who are wanting to broaden their scopes and explore more foreign extremes, as it can open the door to a lot of different movies.  I find it truly scary. It’s not jump scares or any of that garbage. It’s true fear. The kind that after you get done watching it you can’t walk to the kitchen without looking over your shoulder.  Audition puts the viewer to the test and constantly keeps you entertained, even with a rather boring ending.  All in all Audition is a solid 8/10 and a must watch.
By: Ethan Mitchell


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