SHOCKtober 2012 – Day 4: Audition (1999)

A man’s wife dies. Years later, his son says he should get re-married. The man is picky and has a list of desires for the perfect woman. His best friend concocts a plan where they will have a casting call for a movie and use it to find the man a wife.

If this were an American film from the late 1990s it would be a romantic comedy, probably starring Tom Hanks. If it was from the 1980s I’d probably be watching it on Cinemax after my parents had gone to sleep. Instead, this is a Japanese film from Takashi Miike called Audition, and it is most definitely not a rom-com or a skinemax flick.

That being the case, it isn’t surprising that the best friend immediately thinks something is wrong with the girl our hapless protagonist is attracted to. His friend warns him to stay away from her, and he does, for four days, during which time she sits waiting by the phone. He goes out with her a few times, they go away together, she admits to being abused as a child, he says he loves her and they make love. When he wakes, she’s gone.

Now he can’t find her. All the leads on her resume are dead ends and he hears from people about some crazy deaths. And then he finds her again… he’d have been better off if he hadn’t, because what had been a movie that was walking the tightrope of drama and thriller, but here is takes a wild left turn and plunges off the cliff deep into horror.

The things I have seen I cannot unsee.

I have known about this film for years, and I have avoided it. I like monster movies and slasher flicks and various kids of horror and terror, but there is something about these sorts of graphic torture films that unsettle me like nothing else. And more than the violence, more than the blood, what gets to me most is the glee with which she carries out the tasks. Even when the villain of these sorts of films gets it in the end, it never feels satisfying. There is no victory here. No winning.

I’m going to shower three times a day every day for a week. And I’m prescribing myself at least two hours a day of cat pictures on the Internet and daily visits to Cute Overload. These Brillo pads are useless as they are not scraping the images from my mind…

Be sure to keep an eye on Final Girl and the rest of SHOCKtober.

UPDATE: Check out other participants – Life Between Frames, Blog @ Rotten Cotton, Money and a Half, Final Girl, Thrill Me!

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