Friday, October 16, 2009

The Yucky Movies of October (Jay's reviews edition): Audition

Another DVD reviewed for Like a (bad) dream you can't stop thinking about two days later, Audition stays with you. Jumping the gun a day to get this one posted because it's definitely recommended!

What's in the bag?!?!???



Deceptively innocent at first, Takashi Miike's Audition finds Shigeharu Aoyama (Ryo Ishibashi, Suicide Club, The Grudge), a middle-aged widower of many years, urged by his teenage son and his film producer friend Yasuhisa Yoshikawa (Jun Kunimura, Ichi The Killer) to get out and start dating again. To help Aoyama meet women, Yoshikawa devises a plan to hold a fake audition for a leading lady. Reluctantly agreeing, Aoyama auditions 30 young hopefuls and falls for the silent beauty of Asami (model/actress Eihi Shiina), a former ballerina with a dark past. Their courtship veers from quiet romance to psycho nightmare.

Shout! Factory presents this 1999 modern horror classic in a new high-definition transfer from the inter-negative, with a new 5.0 digital soundtrack mixed from the original audio elements. This special collector's edition includes 90 minutes of new interviews with the cast.


The best way to see Audition is the way I first did, without any knowledge of what it is about. If you must know, though, it starts out like an elegantly paced romantic comic-drama about a widower spurred on by his son to look for love again. To facilitate this, he and a friend set up a fake audition for an actress in order to "meet cute" his dream girl in a witty montage of “wacky“ candidates. The film takes time to develop it in a way where you start to expect an American remake would come out where Meg Ryan shows up as the perfect fiancĂ©e. It’s putting it mildly to say things then take a very weird turn. This cute romance turns into a mystery and then a nightmare. It's a horrible lovechild of Vertigo and 70s Giallo.

I won’t go much further into the film except to say it’s highly recommended and a must for every fan of horror films and those who just like excellent ones. The film’s mind-blowing chiller of an ending is rightly legendary. Having seen it before I was still stunned by it on this watch. The new high-definition transfer looks terrific with the muted fall-like color palate coming through cool and beautiful. The new sound mix is nice and crisp as well.

Disc one features commentary with Director Takashi Miike and Screenwriter Daisuke Tengan and Audio in Dolby digital 5.0 or 2.0 stereo. The film begins with a special videotaped introduction by Miike and Eihi Shiina. The disc automatically stars with subtitles in English.

Disc two includes both the International and Japanese trailers for Audition, along with 73 minutes of charming interviews with four of the actors.

A modern horror classic in an excellent new edition. If you’ve never seen it before you’re in for a real treat -- and if you have, this is the edition to own. Can’t recommend this one highly enough.


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