A widower takes an offer to screen girls at a special audition, arranged for him by a friend to find him a new wife. The one he fancies is not who she appears to be after all.
This cult Japanese horror unravels very slowly, introducing a slow paced romance-drama within the firs half an hour. This technique lulls the audience into a false sense of security, setting the scene for a slow romance, and then smacks them in the face with some of the most stomach churning, cringe worthy torture seen on film.
Its the slow pace of the torture, which ties nicely with the slow pace of the whole first half of the film, that is what makes Audition so effective. Rather than being a blood bath, full of violence and torture for the sake of it (like many recent torture films) the subject is treated with integrity and a pinch of cinematic beauty.
Eihi Shiina’s performance as the troubled and twisted Asami is amazing; she makes such a fantastic villain. Her calm, sweet nature contrasts so effectively with the bizarre and horrific torture sequences soon to come, making the eventual climax of the film even more powerful. Another thing I loved was the use of white costume for her. Not only does it make her black hair stand out beautifully, making her very noticeable, but also I liked the subtle contrast and juxtaposition; the use of white to represent innocence.
The final scenes of the film are very strange and very hard to watch! But it is a fantastic climax. Although I knew what was coming and I knew what to expect, I think the use of a very slow romantic-drama-style beginning helped to make the penultimate scenes even more shocking.
This film could quite easily be too confusing and weird to watch; I still don’t fully understand what happened. But the strong themes of obsession and troubled childhoods give it depth and meaning. You empathise with Asami despite her psychotic tendencies, due to her troubled background, and that’s a really interesting concept.
Japanese horror has, for me, always far outdone any horror film that has come out of Hollywood. They have so much more integrity, and they are so cleverly constructed. Audition is a beautiful and completely harrowing piece of film, and the dream sequences in the final scenes are visually stunning and very clever.