037 - Audition (1999)

During a moment of lust, men can be blinded into making the wrong choices. Audition plays on this theme in the extreme manner that only Japanese film can achieve.

Aoyama's wife died a few years ago and he has only just been able to face up to that fact. In that time he has brought up his son alone and created himself a thriving business.

Despite his successes he has grown lonely and decides that it would be a good time to try and find himself a new wife - preferably someone who has created their own career. His co-worker suggests that a good plan would be to hold an audition for an unlikely play featuring a ballerina.

As the actresses' resumes are sent in he finds that one strikes him more than the others. During Asami's interview, Aoyama is unable to help himself as he blurts out favourable questions. They later meet up for lunch where Aoyama tries to find out more about Asami's mysterious past. Despite getting little information, and despite warnings from his colleague, he continues to become more fascinated.

Before they make love, Asami makes sure that Aoyama wants just her - a quality that she is obsessed with. As the film slips into the surreal, Asami finds photos of Aoyama's dead wife on the sideboard - with horrific consequences.

Theatrical Poster
More often than not, horror films are more about seeing how much gore can be made from a film with a legal release - especially in Japanese cinema. Audition, while it has some gore is not as bad as it could have been, and it actually benefits from director Takashi Miike's ability to hold back. If anything, it's at the lower band of 18.

The underlying theme behind the movie is a powerful one - that some, if not all, women want to be loved by a single man and it teaches that infidelity is a crime with consequences that are unbearable.

Many techniques were used throughout the film in order to create a sense of tension - there is hardly any music throughout the film, so tension is created by using a series of flashbacks and alternate realities. These only start to come in in the second half of the film, helping to raise pulses during this section.

The much discussed torture scene is really quite placid in comparison to other horrors that I've seen. There was a lack of blood splatter and the only fear generated is through the sound - which in my opinion is bad enough.

A good Japanese horror with a powerful storyline behind.