Takashi Miike’s legendary horror film Audition is rereleased today (29th February) on DVD, Blu-Ray and in a rather lovely limited edition dual format steelbook edition courtesy of Arrow Video. It’s the release fans of the film have long been deserving of and Arrow pulled out the stops to make sure that nobody is disappointed in this new, revamped edition of everyone’s favourite J-horror movie. Here’s our full review…
The Film Itself
Fully deserving of its legendary status, Audition is a bona fide classic of the horror genre. The story of a 40 year old widowed man holding faux movie auditions in order to find the perfect new woman, only for him to pick out a terrifying and crazed killer, works perfectly well as a plot device for your average slasher, and make no mistake, Audition works very well as a well formed horror. But what really sets this apart from the rest is both its brazen violence and its layers of subtly, it’s quiet understatement and its kinetic editing. It’s an artisitc achievment to behold; to be terrified of but also immensely energised by.
Audio and Visuals
I’m not sure I ever wanted to hear the words ‘Kiri Kiri Kiri’ ever again when I first watched Audition, I certainly didn’t want to witness the scene again. Still, I took one for the team and endured the horror of Audition’s most famous moment all over again, only this time Arrow’s impressive restoration job made sure I didn’t miss a single sickening detail….
I am, despite my unsettled stomach, very happy to have rewatched the film in its restored state as I can report that a very impressive job has been done here. Arrow have given us a 2k restoration from the original vault elements with the original 5.1 Dolby surround audio and it looks and sounds excellent.
As always with Arrow releases there is a reversible sleeve which is nice to have, with newly commissioned artwork by Matthew Griffin on the flipside. The steelbook is the real charmer here though, presented elegantly and smartly, it’s a real delight. The disc menu works well, if you’ve owned an Arrow release before then you know what to expect here; it’s streamlined, crisp and easy to navigate. I have to say though that the disc loses a point for its menu background and audio which with its chirpy music jars with the film overall, and not in an interesting way. It just doesn’t work well as a tool for introducing the film.
Here is where this release really shines. We have a whole range of features to dig into on this disc including; ‘Damaged Romance’ which is an informative appreciation of Audition and the culture which spawned it by Japanese cinema historian Tony Rayns, ‘Ties That Bind’ which is a new interview with Takashi Miike which is interesting to take in and is paired well with a separate series of cast interviews with Ryo Ishibashi, Eihi Shiina, Renji Ishibashi and Ren Osugi. On top of these you have two audio commentaries which both hold things of interest for casual fans and devotees alike, even if they do occasionally slip into ill defined rambles rather than carefully considered observations. The first commentary is by Takashi Miike and screenwriter Daisuke Tengan, the second by Miike biographer Tom Mes.
There are also odd bits like the obligatory trailers and an introduction to the film by Miike which is nice to have but which really doesn’t offer up very much. The introduction basically amounts to a nervous Miike saying that he hopes we enjoy the film.
A very worthy release, celebrating a landmark film with a top notch restoration and enough extras to give inform the viewing of everybody from novices to true J-horror fans. This is a must by for any real film fan.
Audition arrives on our shelves today (29th February), will you be buying yourself a copy? Let us know in the comment box below!