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By Eric Campos | April 11, 2000

Part of the reason this new film from The Bird People of China director Miike Takashi is so alarmingly creepy is that the first 50 minutes of the picture feel like any number of family dramas. The pace is not fast, not slow, the characters seem straight out of any corporate culture, but right around the half-way mark there is a slight mood shift. By the end I found myself feeling so creeped out it was Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer all over again. Aoyama (Ishibashi) is a successful movie producer and father whose wife passed away some years earlier. He begins to feel longings for companionship and, upon the urgings of his son and business partner, decides to hold an audition for a wife masked as an audition for a new movie. From his first glimpse of her photograph, Aoyama is hooked on the ostensibly timid Asami (played by Japanese fashion model, Eihi). Before the audition he has his mind made up and pursues her despite warnings from his partner who can’t say exactly what’s wrong with her – “something chemical”, he says. It is from here on that things get very, very strange and at one point I guessed (incorrectly) that the film was a Basketcase reworking. I will say nothing more of the plot except stay far, far away if you find torture scenes difficult to bear – Audition contains one of the most graphic I have ever seen.

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