Audition (1999)

1h 55m / R / Horror

Film critic Mike D’Angelo once wrote that the ideal way to see Takashi Miike’s Audition is to have a trusted friend that knows your tastes hand you an unlabeled copy in a paper bag, so you have no presuppositions about what it is and where it might be going. The fact that we’ve booked it in our annual Halloween film series has given some of the game away but, trust us, if you haven’t seen it, you still don’t know what you’re in for. It’s … a lot. For much of its runtime, Audition doesn’t even feel like a horror film. It starts almost like a gentle romantic comedy with a middle-aged widower and film business pro named Aoyama (Tetsu Sawaki) goaded into agreeing to his friend’s scheme to find him a new wife by holding fake movie auditions. Delicate ex-ballerina Asami (Eihi Shiina) seems the most likely candidate for Aoyama, but her references don’t check out, and honestly that’s about as much of the plot as we’re willing to reveal. Audition basically birthed the genre of J-horror all by itself. It’s one of the most grotesquely violent and physically revolting films ever made. It is almost unbearable. Now stop reading about it and go see it.

A Nightmare on Franklin Street 2019 is presented by Voodoo Ranger and J.J. Taylor Distributing Florida, Inc. Promotional consideration is provided by Spooky Empire and WEDU PBS.