Audition (1999) | Movie Review
Audition (Ōdishon) is a 1999 Japanese horror mystery film. The film is rated R and it is an hour and 55 minutes long.
Let’s talk more about this horror movie and see if we can watch it this Halloween.
Tonight, we’re talking about the 1999 film Audition, directed by Takashi Miike. If you’ve never seen Audition, you’ve probably heard of it at least by reputation.
It’s a film that is very well known in the horror genre for being very violent and very disturbing, even though those sequences are mostly contained to the third act.
Some films in the horror genre are known for their shock value, and they’ve got plenty of shocks, but not much value. Audition has both. This film is very disturbing, and there are sequences that are difficult to watch.
One in particular that I actually can’t look at mostly because I know the actual thing that was happening in real life involving a bowl and something that someone eats. And if you’ve seen the movie, you know what I’m talking about. But you might not know that in real life, there was some real shit going on in that scene.
I’m not going to get into spoilers just in case you haven’t seen Audition, at least not yet. I will talk about some things later.
But there are plenty of movies in the horror genre that have a reputation for being incredibly violent, very disturbing, sometimes of a sexual nature.
And those films are often talked about as incredibly controversial movies, and they disturbed and shocked a lot of people. Movies like Cannibal Holocaust (1980) or A Serbian Film (2010).
And these movies sometimes can’t find an audience. But sometimes movies like that are made without much attention to the story or character. And it’s simply an exercise in being shocking because they know that we’ll get attention.
Audition is not like that, although I can imagine that in 1999 when the film was released prior to the torture porn era of the 2000s, that many people credit saw for introducing. People weren’t too fond of the movie for a while, but it definitely got an audience over time.
This film follows a widower. His wife died many years ago when his son was very young. Now that his son is older and they have a great relationship, a really great friendship.
His son is like, hey, dad, you should think about getting remarried. It might help you be happier. And he thinks, yeah, maybe it is time.
So he talks to his friend who works in the entertainment industry as someone who professionally auditions people for films or television.
And his friend is like, hey, what if I set up an audition for a woman in the age range you’re looking for and you sit in on the audition and you get to meet a ton of women.
And whichever one sounds great, maybe you can ask her out on a date. Forget about funding the movie. We’ll figure that out later.
In fact, we’ll probably not even make the movie, but, hey, you get to meet a lot of women, and it’s good for you, right.
So right off the bat, this guy has kind of got it coming because that’s really a scummy thing to do. Not only are you potentially crushing someone’s dreams by making them think that they’ve gotten a job in a big film, but you’re doing it because you want to marry them.
Audition really takes its time with its characters. And for some people, that might be a detriment because you see the cover of this movie and you know its reputation and you’re just waiting for something like that to happen. And it doesn’t for a really long time.
I’ve seen the movie twice, and on my first viewing, I remember thinking, Where’s the fucked up shit? I’m waiting for the fucked up shit on second viewing, though. I love this movie because I understand exactly what it’s trying to do.
This movie is almost a clinical examination of the way men can fear women and the way men can be incredibly misogynistic. And I know that Mikay has said different things about the film, and he doesn’t entirely agree with some of those interpretations.
But from my perspective, watching the movie, we’re seeing a guy play the system in a very disturbing way. And everything that’s happened since Harvey Weinstein should even heighten this film’s power.
And we see him really pay the price for that. And it’s kind of enough to put anybody off in pursuing a relationship, at least for a long fucking time, if you’re single.
And the father has a great relationship with his son, it’s kind of like the ideal father-son relationship. Except for, of course, the fact that the mother has passed, they have a great friendship with each other.
He’s in a place where he can say, hey, dad, I don’t care about having a stepmom. That doesn’t bother me at all. You need to be happy. Go for it.
So it makes it more disturbing when this very normal and regular person is doing this really fucked up thing just to try to get a woman. And knowing that except for this one act, he’s pretty much a standup guy. It makes it scarier.
The reason Audition for me is so terrifying is because so much of the movie is about anticipation. We know the film’s reputation. We’ve seen the films, cover the poster art. We know something like this is happening.
We just don’t know when and we’re waiting for that to happen. And every time it doesn’t happen, it gets scarier because you’re waiting for him to do another stupid thing.
You’re waiting for him to invite this kind of pain upon himself. And as we start to peel back the layers of the girl that he’s falling in love with Asami, and you realize what went on in her pas. You begin to get a full picture of how someone like this could completely lose their mind.
So I want to talk a little bit about spoilers. Now, if you’ve never seen Audition, that’s your warning.
Obviously, there’s a torture sequence in the movie, and it’s not just torture, though there’s a lot going on. The entire third act of the movie plays like a massive dream sequence.
In fact, some people do believe it’s a giant dream sequence theirs. Obviously some fever dream moments that happen when he’s drugged by her.
But it can be viewed differently because he’s learning information about her. That is from what I can understand, factual. Things that he would never know, things that he wouldn’t be able to fully understand or comprehend. So it’s a very disturbing way to learn about a character because you don’t know exactly what’s real.
You can’t fully grasp onto a story thread. And, you know, yeah, that’s the one that’s real because it’s happening when he’s drugged, but it also relates to real-world scenes that, you know, he experienced.
Like when he meets this guy playing piano and he can tell that this guy is an abusive asshole, and there’s something going on there.
So when he has this drugged fever dream sequence and he’s seeing things and we, as an audience, are learning about the history of Asami, it makes it so much more unsettling that you don’t fully know what’s real.
Everything involving that giant bag in the movie is horrifying as well. When you see Asami’s home life, which is basically just kind of sitting. And there’s this phone and a bag.
And clearly, she’s waiting for an invitation for something. And the bag moving is one of the most startling scenes I’ve ever witnessed in a movie, honestly, because it’s been there for a long time.
And, you know, in your gut, there’s a fucking person in there or pieces of a person. And when it moves, you’re like, Fuck, she’s just keeping that bastard alive.
The torture sequence is fairly tame by today’s standards, but it’s all the more disturbing because you don’t always see the insertion of certain objects. It’s implied. And then you see the results and the sounds are horrifying.
But there’s plenty that he shows you and I can imagine that in 99, especially when film festival audiences were seeing this for the first time. It was probably very difficult to watch.
And that sequence in the third act is only heightened by the fact that the entire build-up to it plays like a straight drama. It’s just a very tense drama, and you’re waiting for something to happen.
And, you know, it’s going to happen soon. So when the shit hits the fan, it’s so much more effective than ten traps that you might see in a saw movie when there’s just this one piece at the very end.
When you can look at the future of the way something evolved in film, whether it’s a subgenre or a kind of movie or whatever, it’s usually always the best. When you go back to the beginning. When it comes to movies like Audition and the first saw, they knew what the fuck they were doing.
This is a very tense movie that’s disturbing on many levels, not just on one of violence and Gore, but on what a person is capable of doing to another person physically, the torment and pain that our lead character suffers.
But also the emotional pain that Asami has been suffering her entire life and the fact that that has created this seemingly emotionless torture machine of a person.
If you’ve never seen audition and you feel like you’ve and handle it, I would strongly recommend it this Halloween season.
So I am going to give Audition Audition 1999 horror film a B.
Guys thank you so much as always for reading the review of the Audition 1999 horror film. See you next time.
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