Audition (Odishon)

Oh. My. God. It’s been awhile since I’ve been so shocked and grossed-out by a film. Filmmaker Takashi Miike is cruel, leading the audience on with a perfectly nice story for over an hour. Then, of course, all hell breaks loose!

Genre(s): Horror, Thriller

Director: Takashi Miike

Actors: Ryo Ishibashi, Eihi Shiina

Year: 1999

MPAA Rating: R

Country: Japan

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A lonely 40-something widower Aoyama (Ryo Ishibashi) decides it is time to get married again, so with the help of a moviemaker friend, opens a casting call for a non-existent film. Actresses show up to “try out” for the film, not knowing, of course that what they’re really auditioning for is to be the girlfriend, and, ideally, new wife of Aoyama.

He finds “the perfect girl” Asami (Eihi Shiina)… she is young, pretty, demure, a former ballerina (fer cryin’ out loud), and reminds him a bit of his dead wife.

Of course, this woman is not what she seems. At all. When she finds out that she has been manipulated, she gets her revenge. And how. Let’s just say, Audition turns into a David Cronenberg-meets-David Lynch shock-fest. Very, very wrong, but darkly funny at the same time.

I saw this flick almost two years ago at a film festival and I’m still haunted and traumatized by it. At the packed screening I attended, some of the audience walked out, while those brave enough to stay (probably because they couldn’t move, like deer-in-headlights) screamed in horror, tried to crawl under the theater seats, and clawed at their friends, all the while giggling in shock at what what taking place on screen.

The final third of this film is really and truly one of the most shocking and disturbing bits of moviemaking I have ever, EVER seen. This is a true and somber warning: See Audition at your own risk! I hold no responsibility for your nightmares!

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