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  •  REVIEW: UZUMAKI

      Uzumaki
    This is the way the swirled ends

    Spirals all over the place signal intrigue and doom in the thrillingly strange Japanese horror flick "Uzumaki."

    By GRADY HENDRIX
    Offoffoff.com


    Q: What's black and white, slithers up walls, and looks like a Japanese teenager?

    A: By the end of "Uzumaki," about half the cast.

    From the gummy, red "SPLOTZ!" of its opening suicide leap that dumps a high school student's kibbles out of his skull and all over the schoolhouse floor, to the wet, creeping apocalypse of its entropic ending, "Uzumaki" is the carnival ride that won't stop, it just keeps whirling, and the clowns keep laughing, and your gorge keeps rising, until your synapses short out and you go unconscious. Even the film itself keeps burning holes through its celluloid and shredding sprockets as it tries to tear itself up off the projector and bend its spine into an unbroken mobius strip that will trap your eyes for eternity.

    UZUMAKI
    Directed by: Higuchinsky.
    Cast: Eriko Hatsune, Fhi Fan, Hinako Saeki, Keiko Takahashi, Ren Osugi..
    In Japanese with English subtitles.
      
    Dire words for a movie where everyone seems as sweet as cotton candy. Kirie is a nice teenage girl, whose nice boyfriend, Shuichi, is actually a quivering tower of compressed rage. He wants to escape their cursed hometown. Cursed? It looks so nice! It's small, and peaceful, and everyone rides bicycles, and it's separated from the rest of the world by a long, black tunnel, and there's that lake that no one talks about, and Shuichi's dad is obsessed with spirals, and wait a minute — this isn't so nice after all. What's the problem? The whole town is cursed .╩.╩. by spirals. And before the movie's over you won't be so big on them yourself. There's something cold and inhuman about spirals — they aren't exactly shapes, but they aren't anything else, either.

    They're in our ears, and in the food we eat. Sometimes our bodies can be twisted into spirals, and there they are dusted in the clouds (courtesy of amazingly restrained CGI), and in escaping steam and smoke. And aren't snail shells spirals, too? Before you know it, you'll realize that spirals are everywhere. And they want to kill you.

      
      When the Japanese horror movie wave was launched with the mega-success of "The Ring", producers eager for material bit into Ito's assorted manga for ideas, and got a mouthful of slime instead.
      
    "Uzumaki" started life as a horror manga (comic book) by cult author Junji Ito, a former dental technician who spent too much time staring at the wrong end of the drill. When the Japanese horror movie wave was launched with the mega-success of "The Ring" (1998), producers eager for material bit into Ito's assorted manga for ideas, and got a mouthful of slime instead. So far, Ito's brain can be seen onscreen in "Tomie," "Tomie: Replay" and "Uzumaki," which coupled him with first-time director Higuchinsky, and the two went together like gasoline and matches. Higuchinsky's Lynchian deadpan is a perfect palate-cleanser for Ito's concentrated grotesque, and the two craft a movie that's slopping over with unwashed, sublimated sexuality, a rococo visual style, and the sparkling sounds of tinkling tankling glockenspiels and xylophones.

    "Uzumaki" inhabits a universe where sexual terror, body horror, and tabloid TV stories that blare, "Human Snails Attack High School!" put the scares back into surrealism. It's full of dark tricks, black jokes, and red herrings, and it knows that what really scares us is when nothing makes any sense anymore. Even a stand-up guy like Shuichi, who handles his dad's insanity like a tough homework assignment, can become deeply unhinged when all that liquid starts seeping out his pores and those evil spirals start to suck him in.

    According to "Uzumaki" the apocalypse won't arrive with a bang or a whimper, but with a thick, mucousy squelch.

    MAY 3, 2002
    OFFOFFOFF.COM • THE GUIDE TO ALTERNATIVE NEW YORK


    Reader comments on Uzumaki:

  • Freakin' crazy!   from Dan, Jul 14, 2002
  • Soundtrack question   from Jim Felts, Jul 14, 2002
  • Re: Soundtrack question   from , Jun 21, 2004
  • weird, but cool   from Aimee, Jul 14, 2002
  • Soundtrack answer!   from Jim Felts, Jul 16, 2002
  • movie   from ....some one, Aug 18, 2002
  • Re: movie   from jurie, Sep 6, 2002
  • Re: movie Uzumaki   from Corvid, Sep 7, 2002
  • Re: Soundtrack answer!   from aayumi, Feb 15, 2003
  • WOW   from Gabriel, Jul 24, 2002
  • it's a wonderful funny freaky film!!!   from Mandi Apple, Sep 27, 2002
  • Uzumaki and Ringu   from Pete, Oct 26, 2002
  • Re: Uzumaki and Ringu   from Sarah, Dec 15, 2002
  • Re: Uzumaki and Ringu   from kate, Feb 6, 2003
  • UZUMAKI   from Steffi, Dec 9, 2002
  • soundtrack   from Kelley, Feb 14, 2003
  • Re: soundtrack   from Curly Jo, Aug 11, 2003
  • Movie Trailer   from Carlina, May 26, 2003
  • Disappointed   from ss, Oct 24, 2003
  • Re: Disappointed   from Melody, Sep 10, 2008
  • [no subject]   from Josephine, Nov 20, 2003
  • [no subject]   from Henry, Jan 18, 2005
  • [no subject]   from Jungle Girl, Jan 28, 2005
  • interesting   from Cynthia, Feb 23, 2005
  • It was soooo cool   from pink bl00d, Mar 30, 2005
  • One word, SICK-   from Amandah, Apr 17, 2005
  • UZUMAKI!!!   from Jack, Jan 14, 2006
  • [no subject]   from ><br> E-mail addre, Jul 5, 2008

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