Takashi Miike's Audition (English translation) is easily one of the best horror films since Wes Craven's Scream. This is not just a horror movie though, it is part drama, part romance. It is a study of human emotions. Nothing horrific happens until the last 40 minutes (and let me say, it IS horrific when it comes). The first 90 minutes are slow, but extremely interesting. The movie starts with Shigeharu Aoyama standing by his wife as she dies, his son, Shigehiko also witnesses. It's seven years later and Shigehiko recommends that Aoyama should get re-married. His friend suggests that he hold an audition. He agrees and meets Asami, a beautiful and seemingly normal woman, but she soon takes him into her world of sadistic torture and violence which he may never leave..... Audition has a lot of positives going for it. All of the main actors give brilliant performances and Eihi Shiina, who plays Asami, is eerily good. The direction suits the movie, it is slow but assured, and Miike doesn't always show or explain everything, which gives the entire film an uneasy atmosphere. The score is brooding and haunting and although the pacing may seem slow Audition is never boring. This movie won't appeal to all, however, while some hail it as a masterpiece, others say it is sadistic and boring. My advice would be not to tackle this as pure horror, more of a slow drama/romance with splashes of psychological and visceral horror (especially in the last 30 minutes). And for those curious about the gore, there is very little of it despite what some may say, but that little bit is still disturbing.
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