Post Millennial Trauma Part 1: Audition (2000)

This century has so far been really dreadful for horror and as a result we spend a quite remarkable amount of time debating torture porn:  is such and such a torture porn film, what qualifies as torture porn, if that qualifies then why doesn’t this, and so forth. So once every now and again I’m going to look at a Horror film from each year in the 21st Century that I think is worth a look. From the outset, let me make this crystal clear: I hate torture porn. Eli Roth and his foul ilk can go and suck a fat one as far as I’m concerned. So, there will be little of that evil nonsense polluting this series.

So, here we go, the first of the Post Millennial Horror films: Audition.

Before I carry on, because it’s relevant for later on. I’m going to loosely define Torture Porn- what it means for me. This is not a universal definition, and I will probably break my own rules heavily several times. Pornography doesn’t have to be sexual. The actual definition of pornography refers to the obscene and the gratuitous purely done for titillation. There usually is a sexual nature, obviously, but I think the word is properly applied in this context. For me, any film that relies heavily and exclusively on lascivious and excessive torture to elicit any emotional response will usually qualify, particularly if it is in lieu of any other actual tension. I will consider the characterisation as Torture Porn classically does not have properly drawn characters- these victims exist solely as meat puppets for the film makers to damage. I will consider how the torture is shot, and I will also consider it’s purpose in the film. Marathon Man, for example, has one of the most agonising scenes of torture ever put on celluloid, but I don’t consider that to be TP. Torture Porn by definition has to be exploitative, but that doesn’t mean that every exploitation film is Torture Porn.

Now that is out of the way, on with the review. Minor quibbling about the release date aside, Audition is arguably the first of the 21st Century’s great horror films (I’m ignoring the festival appearance in Canada for the purposes of this series. IMDB has every other country in the world (including Japan) releasing this post-2000). Takashi Miike has banged out somewhere in the region of 50 films at a frankly scary rate since the turn of the century, and in my opinion the vast majority of them are unpleasant deliberately odious toss. However, in the massive amount of dreck that he spins out a few films stand out as being legitimately interesting. Audition is one of them, and probably the only one that I could consider to be a great film.

Ryo Ishibashi plays Aoyama. Aoyama has never really come to terms with the death of his wife, and after 7 long years, his son Shigehiko tells him that he needs to remarry. So with no further ado, film executive Aoyama abuses his connections (best friend Yoshikawa) to set up a supremely dubious audition. The audition is ostensibly for the movie, but in reality is to find a new bride. Eihi Shiina’s Asami is his preferred candidate. Anyhow, the film follows their relationship before culminating in a horrendous torture sequence that is almost beyond description.

First things first, the acting in this, particularly from Shiina, is absolutely stunning. Her performance is ostensibly submissive, but actually deeply unhinged. She’s a sadist with a smile, an enchanting and deeply unstable woman, and although Aoyama doesn’t help himself out (I’ll come to this when I look at the end) it’s really very easy to see how he fell into her web. Furthermore, it’s an absolutely nightmare inducing turn- she’s both intent and practically orgasmic when dealing out the pain and hearing her trill “kiri kiri kiri” makes a shiver crawl up my spine thinking about it. Ishibashi is good as Aoyama, but he’s completely outclassed.

Secondly, Audition is, while a grizzly horror film, also dealing with some quite serious issues. The writing, I do have to say, is brilliant, handling a lot of subtext and thematically difficult topics with some significant aplomb never once losing sight of the fact that it is a horror film. The early conversations between Aoyama and Yoshikawa about what he’s looking for in a woman (hint: A geisha) and how he feels as “nervous as I did when I bought my first car” are astonishingly misogynistic. For Aoyama and Yoshikawa, who are clearly meant to be indicative of modern Japan, women are possessions, in the worst case, actually, little more than meat. The fact that the film climaxes with Aoyama as meat is a clever reversal of this, not to mention a subtle dig at horrific shite like Guinea Pig or Hentai (the torture involves insertion of multiple foreign objects into Aoyoma’s body- not quite tentacle rape, but still) which tend to feature women on the receiving end of a huge variety of foul abuses. Unusually for Miike (this is the man who filled a bucket with actual human semen for Ichi), there’s a strong feminist subtext to Audition, although he does vehemently deny any social commentary. But he would, seeing as he’s nothing if not contradictory.

The direction for Audition is probably its strongest suit. The pace is glacial, and deliberately slow. This is surprising, given that Miike films that I’ve seen usually clip along at a fair old rate, but the first hour of Audition is positively snail-like in comparison. This is a wise decision on his behalf, as it allows tension to build, and there’s a moment about 30 minutes in that signals a clear change of gears in the film (the scene in the apartment with the sack). Nothing really happens, but there’s a clear feeling of wrongness to Asami and the sequences with her waiting for the phone to ring accentuate this. By the time the messy climax of the film comes, (and it’s completely inevitable by the way) it is almost a relief as it dissipates the tension and serves as both shocking and frightening. Secondly, the last 45 minutes of the film have a hallucinatory quality- they’re dream-like (this is broken by the final shot of the film), and there’s the strong feeling that these terrible things haven’t actually happened to the poor mug. They have, clearly, but the hallucination serves a dual purpose in both diluting the impact and allowing alternative interpretations. Miike revisits the earlier dating scenes, and films them from her angle as opposed to his, and supplies her actual dialogue, rather than what he thinks he has been listening to. He basically was not paying attention to her, and her actual past is horrific. It’s no wonder she’s a sociopath.

Which brings me round to the climax of the film, and is it torture porn? I’m on the fence about this. Last night, when I first watched it, I was absolutely convinced that the climax was torture porn. However, on reflection, I’ve come to the conclusion that unlike the vast majority of TP, where the pain is basically entirely necessary and totally meaningless, the torture in Audition serves a function. There’s nobody on the planet that watches this film and hollers when the piano wire comes out, this is a very, very heavy sequence. Don’t get me wrong, it’s gruelling to sit through, but it isn’t for titillation. There’s no pleasure at all to be taken from Aoyama’s suffering, and that, in my opinion is what qualifies it as not being Torture Porn.

So, then, what is Audition? It’s a very, very high class stalker film with a message. Asami is a stone cold sociopath but the film isn’t about revelling in her depravity. It’s frightening, but what is really, really scary is that Audition rips open a vulnerability in the main character that is potentially present in all of us: Aoyama is massively selfish, but desperate for companionship and it’s the subversion of genuine human emotion ending in a positively brutal, but deeply inevitable, mess that makes this a taut and frightening film.

The esteemed Bartleby put it best the other day, Audion is a film of impressive artistry, however it’s like admiring the form of someone kicking you just as he whacks you in the bollocks. It’s a simply stupendous film, but probably one of the hardest films to watch that I’ve ever made it to the end of, and I doubt very much if I’ll be watching it again.

I know for a fact that Mrs. Jarv won’t, being as it gave her nightmares.

So, how to rate Audition- well, all these films are ones that I hold in quite high regard, so it’ll be no surprise to see a series of very, very high ratings here. Audition, for me, has absolutely no rewatchability, and it is for this reason that I’m clipping it half a rating point. It’s a devastating borderline masterpiece, but I can’t honestly either recommend it or say that I’ll ever be inflicting it upon myself again. Brutal, uncompromising and frankly terrifying, I give Audition Three and a Half Droids hiding behind the sofa out of Four, but with the proviso that anyone that watches it based on this rating does so entirely without my blessing. You have been warned.

Next up is another barnstorming film: 2001’s Ginger Snaps.

Until then,


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About Jarv

Workshy cynic, given to posting reams of nonsense on the internet and watching films that have inexplicably got a piss poor reputation.

193 responses to “Post Millennial Trauma Part 1: Audition (2000)”

  1. Jarv says :

    OK- suggestions for this series please. Some years are nailed on:

    2001- Ginger snaps
    2003- Tale of 2 Sisters
    2006- Behind the Mask: the Rise of Leslie Vernon
    2007- Either Rec or The Mist

    Aside from that most years are up for grabs.

  2. Tom_Bando says :

    I’ll just take your word for it there Jarv. I can just see the Eli Roth ‘re-imagining’ now:

    *Guy picks up a HS gal, ties her up, beats her over the head w/ a crow bar, rapes her w/ a tire iron, etc. leaves her in a bag in a ditch.

    *12 years later, same guy is picked up online by some gal, he winds up tied up, beat over the head w/ a crow bar, raped w/ a tire iron, and He winds up left in a bag in a ditch.


    *Oh and the ad campaign will have the requisite Harold spooge-quote on it, of course.

  3. Franklin T Marmoset says :

    And here I was thinking Audition was a film about how all women are unhinged lunatics who torture men.


    More seriously, you’ve convinced me to watch this one again, Jarv. It’s undoubtedly unpleasant, but very effective. I think I’ll stick that one on tonight, then clear my palette by watching yet another film about Chinese people punching each other. I’ve got True Legend, the new Yuen Woo Ping film, that should do the job.

    Good review.

    • Jarv says :

      I hadn’t seen it since 2001. I’m not sure I was particularly clear with this review, but on reflection it isn’t TP.

      Mrs. Jarv disagrees, though. But she would seeing as she hid from it.

      I was going to rate this with Droid’s hiding behind the sofa out of four.

      May go back and do that, actually if I get a bit of time this afternoon.

  4. Droid says :

    HUZZAH! Challenge Droid has successfully been avoided!

    • Jarv says :

      Way too hard core for you.

      Genuinely, it’s anathema to your tastes this:

      1) you don’t tend to like subtitled films
      2) you don’t tend to like horror
      3) you don’t like torture

      You wouldn’t make it.

  5. Tom_Bando says :

    I (re-)watched the Third Man last night—I still chuckle at seeing Wilfrid Hyde-White there, the only place I’d ever known of him before was on Buck Rogers, sad to say. Which was TORTURE enough….

  6. Bartleby says :

    Jarv, I know there are several here you mght not consider horror, but here’s a potential list of stuff worth covering. this was the first part, and then there’s a second.

    • Jarv says :


      LTROI looks nailed on for 2008,
      I think I’ve been looking at a different list to you for dates, as the one I looked at had Tale of 2 sisters down as 2003, whereas you’ve got it for 2002.

      Needs some thought.

    • kloipy says :

      Jonah, that is a great list man. I wish that we had more movies out like The Mist these days. I was so pleased with that adaptation (some bad CGI besides) and I love Darabont’s ending. Fit it perfectly
      Also Session 9 which was probably one of the biggest suprises to me. Didn’t care for the ending in that one but, it didn’t matter as the film leading up to it was superb. The scene where they go into the hospital at night to look for that guy is terrifying

  7. kloipy says :

    Great review Jarv. The first time I saw this was about soon after a month stay in the hospital, multiple surgeries, and a wound vac attached to my stomach. It was late at night and i had no real idea what i was in for. The slow pace of this movie is what truly makes it scary. The change comes when they first sleep together and he wakes up and she’s gone. From that moment on it is non stop. The dream like quality of the second half just puts you in such a off kilter mood and ratches up the tension until the end. Which, in the hands of another director could just be for shock value but it makes sense to the plot in this movie. She’s showing him that she refuses to let anything or anyone get in her way because to her, he’s her property (as some Japanese men believe in women as a theirs). The needles could also be interpreted as her penetrating him. I haven’t seen it again since but i do love it and one of the last movies that actually scared me.
    When ‘Kiri kiri kiri’ came I had to reach for the remote and turn that shit down.

    • Jarv says :

      It’s funny, beacuse I read that Miike himself doesn’t rate it. He thinks it’s too slow.

      Which goes to show what he knows.

      I noticed a lot more this time than I did on first watch, but fuck me, I’m not watching it again.

      • Tom_Bando says :

        Jarv-seriously which was harder to sit thru, this or Thundercrack?

      • Jarv says :

        Thundercrack is boring and gross, and impossible to get through-

        This is harrowing. On reflection I’d rather watch it back to back 3 times in a row than the first 15 minutes of Thundercrack.

        It does help that Audition is actually a good film.

    • Jarv says :

      Also, the hallucinatory scene allows Miike the luxury of reshowing what actually happened in the dating scenes and how Aoyama was basically completely desperate and deluded from word go.

      He heard her say “normal middle class family” whereas she actually talked about the abuse she suffered.

  8. Droid says :

    There’s loads of awesome horror movies you could do!

    2005 – Doom, The Fog, The Gingerdead Man, Hostel, Hide and Seek, House of Wax, Wolf Creek

    2008 – Deadgirl, Gingerdead Man 2: Passion of the Crust, The Happening, The Human Centipede

    2009 – Birdemic, The Collector, Jennifer’s Body, The Last House on the Left

    • Droid says :

      No need to thank me. I’m happy to help.

    • Spud McSpud says :

      Oh, come on! JENNIFER’S BODY was a great little DTV ’80s throwback of a film! And Megan Fox snogs Amanda Seyfried! It’s a great little movie!!

      Keep your post-ironic Jarv-baiting away from my precious Megan! Or I’ll set the 9D9 torture droid on you – and you know what 9D9 did to that poor Gonk droid in ROTJ, don’t you?…

      • Droid says :

        Jennifers Body was a fucking terrible film.

        And haven’t you seen the prequels? I’ve got jet packs and all sorts of good stuff. I’ll kick yo’ ass fool!

      • Jarv says :

        But you are hiding behind the sofa above.


      • Spud McSpud says :

        You were in THE PHANTOM MENACE, and you talk to me about terrible movies??

        I’ll take Megan Fox over Gungans any day of the week, you wretched rustpot!

        In all seriousness, though, I think JENNIFER’S BODY was aiming for the kind of ground occupied by SLITHER – comedy and horror, side by side, with some sly social commentary thrown in there. It did lose the edge it so desperately wanted (it really should have been aiming for HEATHERS crossed with CARRIE, but came up short) and wasn’t anywhere near as clever as it thought it was (take a bow, Diablo Cody) but it was fun enough, some decent scenes, and a band killing virgins because they want to be as famous as Maroon 5! How can you not like that??

        It’s no classic, but still…

      • Droid says :

        Well, that’s just a blatant misrepresentation of one individuals freedom of choice and complete understanding of what he is willing to watch.

        Unfortunately for you, I’ve seen other films you’ve mentioned for this series so you will have to come up with something equally hilarious.

  9. Jarv says :

    Wolf Creek is a candidate.

    2008 is nailed on LTROI,

    There’s lots of lovely schlock in that.

    Nice slip with The Happening.

    • Droid says :

      I haven’t seen Wolf Creek. Always seemed like TP to me.

      • Bartleby says :

        Skip WC. It;s useless. See Rogue, McClean;’s follow-up film about the giant croc isntead. Liked that much more. I know Droid didnt care much for it though.

        Droid, not sure if you saw my comment in the other thread. Want to move Last Ride back and Red Hill for Dingos? I just saw it and thought it would make a great team-up article.

      • Droid says :

        Rogue was okay. Worth a watch. Yeah, since I haven’t actually watched Last Ride yet lets switch it for Red Hill.

      • Jarv says :



        Shit, this might be quite hard.

      • Droid says :

        Rogue is just a giant croc film. Not TP or anything.

    • Spud McSpud says :

      Yeah, surprised you suggested WOLF CREEK, Jarv. It seems like TP to me – very much among stuff like THEM or THE STRANGERS.

      Of course, I have’t seen it, but still…

      • Jarv says :

        Just that I hadn’t seen it and had seen raves for it everywhere. There seems to be clusters of goodness mixed in with utter shit last century.

        I think the hardest year will be either 2004 or 2005 (alternatively known as The years of suck)

  10. Jarv says :

    2002 is looking like I may do My Little Eye. I think it’s got Bradley Cooper in it.

  11. Franklin T Marmoset says :

    I don’t do this very often because it makes me feel uncomfortable, but just this once: LOL!

    That new rating is hilarious. Hats off to you, sir.

  12. Spud McSpud says :

    2004 would be DAWN OF THE DEAD for me, as I think Zack Snyder did a great job on updating hte original, which really doesn’t hold up for me as much as it does for some of Romero’s biggest fans. If I remember correctly, you weren’t a huge fan – but I think it was the point at which mainstream horror properly started trying to scare the audience again, post-2000.

    Or there’s THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST – but if that ain’t torture porn then I don’t know what is. Mad Mel Gibbo is a sick, sick man…

  13. Droid says :

    I don’t think I understand exactly what the theme is of this. First it was TP. Then it was good TP. Now it’s just any horror?

    Please explain.

    • Jarv says :

      It was going to be TP. Then I changed my mind as there’s being fuck all in the way of good horror since 2000. So therefore I’m picking one candidate from each year to review.

      This may well be a bad idea, seeing as it was based entirely on Leslie Vernon, Ginger Snaps and Audition.

      There is fucking NOTHING in 2005 that qualifies.

      • Jarv says :

        Although SharkMan does sound mint.

      • Droid says :


        2005 – Doom, The Fog, The Gingerdead Man, Hostel, Hide and Seek, House of Wax, Wolf Creek

      • Jarv says :

        OK- of those:

        Doom (own it, it’s pants)
        The Fog (seen it, it’s pants)
        Gingerdead Man (awesome, Koutch is reviewing it at some point)
        Hostel (do i really have to call Eli Roth a cunt, and Orang of Doom it?)
        Hide and Seek (Orang of Doom. What the fuck happened to De Niro)
        House of Wax (crap, only worth watching for Hilton getting a spear to the head)

        Which leaves Wolf Creek. Looking at the other horrors from that year, unless THe Dark is ace, it may well have to be.

      • Droid says :

        Of those I’ve seen Doom, The Fog, Hide and Seek and House of Wax. And they’re all shit.

      • koutchboom says :

        Gingerdead Man 2! I’m doing the sequel!

  14. Jarv says :

    Anyone seen Sheitan?

    • Bartleby says :

      Apart from a reasonably unhinged Cassell performance, Sheitan sucks. Its more like a dopey slasher than TP (it isnt at all) but its not much worth seeing. While oyu are at, please skip Calvaire as wel.

      • Jarv says :

        Goddamn it.

        Got a suggestion for 2005? I’m just doing good horror from the last decade- not TP.

        I wimped out of TP.

      • koutchboom says :

        DAMN! Save the Green Planet = 2003
        DOUBLE DAMN! Saw = 2004
        The Descent???????? Though thats a bit obvious by now.

      • koutchboom says :

        Thanks for the a word up! on Shitan. I was reading about new wave french extreme yesterday and that was listed. The director of Matrys was saying how its bullshit because they can’t get fuck all in terms of money in France and how they are seen as a joke there. How its only more popular in the rest of the world. HE ALSO bitched about the rating Matrys got! AHAHAHAHAH He cried censorship for being the first French film are something to recieve like an 18+, whatever that movie earned that fucking rating.

        Also yeah Barts right skip fucking Calvaire. HEY you know its bad if I’m telling you to skip a TP film. It just sucked.

  15. Droid says :

    Christ, looks like we dodged a bullet. There was a Near Dark remake that began shooting in 2007, got shut down, was recast and a new director hired, then shitcanned 2/3rds the way through filming.


  16. just pillow talk says :

    Hmmm…so this is on my instant queue, and I’m probably leaning a bit more into watching it after reading your review.

    I would unequivocally have to watch it without Mrs. Pillow in the room.

  17. Bartleby says :

    2005 was a crapper for horror, but you aren;t completely up a creek,,

    2005 was Descent but I know you have alread done it.

    There’s also Feast for 2005, which I dislike but plenty of others seem to rate…

    My personal recommendations would be either The Roost (the House of the Devil’s first movie about vamp bats that turn you into zombies) and that black and white Call of Cthulhu movie they made. It’s a little oer an hour I think, but its very good and a neat little experiement.

  18. Jarv says :

    OK then. Provisional list:

    2000- Audition
    2001- Ginger Snaps
    2002- My Little Eye (not happy with this one)
    2003- Tale of 2 Sisters
    2004- Dumplings
    2005- Feast
    2006- Leslie Vernon
    2007- Rec
    2008- Let the Right one In (I’d rather do something else as this gets wanked over. There’s quite a lot of choice though)
    2009- Undecided
    2010- Erm… Help?

  19. Bartleby says :

    Jarv, why don;t you do Dog Soldiers or In My Skin for 2002? you need to be the mediator. I dig it, but Koutch called it boring.

  20. Droid says :

    What year was Ravenous made? I liked that film. So weird.

  21. Bartleby says :

    2009 = Pontypool, House of the Devil, Dance of the Dead

  22. Bartleby says :

    Jarv, see Pontypool..its great.

  23. Jarv says :

    I can always cheat and extend this series indefinitely.

  24. Bartleby says :

    and that maid droid thing is aparently awful, and not a horror. Avoid.

    do burning bright for 2010

  25. Jarv says :

    Doing this just illustrates the paucity of horror in this century.

    pah. What a shit idea.

    I didn’t want to stuff it full of things from the far east, but it looks as if I may have to.

    • koutchboom says :

      I say you just work down this list:

      though I don’t understand why Cube is on that list? I guess it fits in with Droid’s philosophy of what TP is.

      • Droid says :

        No, Cube isn’t TP. So you can stop attempting to assume what I do and don’t think on a subject.

      • Jarv says :

        Where did you get that? Wikipedia?

        It’s not horror. It’s Sci-Fi.

        Fucking hell- I noticed a load in the Wikipedia list that weren’t as well.

      • koutchboom says :

        Way to read that wrong Droid. Wa wa.

        No I was going off what you said about Buried and how you felt that that was a TP film. And saying that someone over at Box Office applied that same reasoning to Cube. BOOYA! God everything’s gotta be so negative with you. It was acutally a compliment because I find it interesting that you see something like Buried as a TP film, why I may not totally agree with you I think your reasoning is sound, and Cube fits into that same reasoning….from what I know of Buried. Guy wakes up in a box needs to get out, same as group of people wake up in some magical cube and need to find a way out.

      • koutchboom says :

        Jarv its that list. From…ummm box office Its a list of the highest grossing Horror movies that are of the torture persuasion and Cube is on that list.

      • Droid says :

        The difference between Cube and Buried is astronomical. They may sound similar in concept, but they are polar opposites. In Cube, the characters have to use their ingenuity and brains to work their way through the cube to the exit. If they’re smart enough they survive. In Buried, the character spends 90 minutes pleading into a telephone and has no chance of escape unless he is rescued. It’s cynical manipulative filmmaking because he was never, ever going to survive.

      • koutchboom says :

        Yeah but the same could be said about Cube. They are stuck in this Cube that is full of torture devices, and we sit there and watch as one after another they get tortured/killed. Just saying that someone stuck somewhere that they may possibly not get out of as we sit there and watch, its similar.

      • Jarv says :

        The end of Cube is pretty fucking nihilistic as well- they’ve worked their tits off to get there and then BOOM.

        Meh. I don’t think it’s TP, nonetheless.

      • Droid says :

        It’s not similar at all. Stuck in a box. That’s the only similarity. Obviously you have to see Buried to understand.

        I would actually say Cube is more similar to Saw.

      • Jarv says :

        I go with that.

        Trapped, ingenuity to survive, messy fucking deaths. Cheaty nihilistic ending.

        Cube= Sci-fi Saw.

        Which may work because I don’t think the first saw is TP either.

      • Droid says :

        I need to watch Cube again. Haven’t seen it since the cinema.

      • Jarv says :

        Storming film, that. I used to own it but it got nicked. The same git that emigrated to Australia and took my Attack Pack with him.

      • koutchboom says :

        To Saw? Saw is a thriller of trying to find a killer? You could say Saw 2 or Saw 5. Not Saw 1. Saw 2 and 5 are a group of people waking up somewhere and they need to find a way out without dying in these traps.

        I’m just saying on pure person wakes up without much choice to survive and they are stuck somewhere they can’t get out. You could more call it survival horror in a way. I mean just the notion of being stuck somewhere you don’t know where could be considered torture enough. Bruied is just cube on a much much smaller scale. Also since we never get a clear cut answer to Cube so we never know its purpose.

      • Jarv says :

        Well, Saw 1 works with 2 people waking up and having to solve the trap.

        Saw 2 works as well.

        Point being, neither of those 2 are TP, and the first isn’t even Horror.

      • koutchboom says :

        Yeah but Saw 1 has that whole police thriller chase aspect to it that takes up most of the film. Being trapped is only like 1/3 of the film.

        While Saw’s 2 and 5 are a majority with the people stuck in these houses where they have to solve traps in attempt to get out. Saw 2 people are more free roaming, while Saw 5 they are forced into a new trap in each room and one of them has to die before they can move on. Those are more like cube then Saw 1.

      • Droid says :

        Koutch, you take everything so literally. The concept of Saw is characters waking up trapped in a puzzle they have to solve. There IS an exit, if they can figure it out. Cube is like that. By saying Cube is more similar to Saw, any normal person wouldn’t take that as meaning that because there wasn’t a police subplot in Cube there is no similarity.

      • koutchboom says :

        Ok, I see that. I’m just saying as a whole Cube is a lot closer to Saw’s 2 and 5 then Saw 1. This pretty much just comes down to my knowledge of all three films. I’ve seen Cube/Saw/Saw 5 all within the past year and I’d have to say Cube is much more closer in tone/style/point then to Saws 2 and 5 then Saw 1. I get how Cube and Saw have a similar notion, its just that Saw 2 and 5 focus a lot harder and more on the victims being trapped working out different contraptions. Just like Cube had multiple contraptions, Saw only has one contraption and its not really a contraption, they are stuck there attached by a chain. Saw2 and 5 and cube people walk around and into traps just like Cube. If anything Buried is closer to Saw and Cube is closer to Saws 2 and 5.

        I mean Saw they are traped somwhere (possibly underground with seemingly no real way of figuring out where they are or how to get people to get there). They are given instructions by someone as I assume happens in Buried and they have a cell phone to try to get help. Yes Buried has a more nilistic ending but so does Saw, just Saw has more going on in it then Buried.

      • Jarv says :

        If anything Buried is closer to Saw and Cube is closer to Saws 2 and 5.

        That might be true. I haven’t seen buried either.

      • Droid says :

        I’m not talking about the first Saw specifically. I’m talking about the concept of Saw. The idea that these people awaken to find they are trapped and must solve some sort of puzzle to survive. By that, Cube is thematically similar to the Saw films.

        There is no puzzle for the bloke in Buried to solve. He has the telephone because the kidnappers ring him to tell him they want 5 million ransom and he has to use the telephone to get it. That’s it. It’s literally a film in which the audience sits and watches a man die, while manipulating us into caring. Ryan Reynolds is likeable in the first place, but he calls his wife and kids, he seems like a nice guy and he’s in Iraq as a contractor. A fucking truck driver for fucks sake. He couldn’t be in Iraq as a soldier because that could detract from the audiences sympathy. He has to be an entirely innocent person. The film is so unfairly built around manipulating the audience that it (obviously) annoyed the shit out of me.

      • koutchboom says :

        Well ok I was talking about specific Saw films.

        I mean there really isn’t a puzzle for the Saw 1 guys to solve either, you don’t know that if they saw their feet off that they’ll actually make it out of where ever they are.

        Though Saw makes Robin Hood and the Creator of Saw assholes, not likeable people. Maybe thats the difference.

      • koutchboom says :

        kidnappers ring him to tell him they want 5 million ransom and he has to use the telephone to get it.

        If you think about it, thats a puzzle. I mean if he can figure out a way to get 5 million dollars he’s figured out the puzzle and could possibly live.

      • Droid says :

        Yes, and he gets through to the right person. But they refuse to pay. Thats not a puzzle.

      • koutchboom says :

        In context of that film it is a puzzle.

      • koutchboom says :

        I mean if you said that in Buried, they burry him and told him that he was going to die, heres a cell phone make some calls and get your affairs in order, and that was the whole film. Then sure.

        But they told him that if he got 5 million dollars they would let him go. SOOO there is a whole puzzle aspect of him possibly getting the money and getting free. You don’t know until the end that he’s just fucked either way.

      • Droid says :

        The ransom is not a puzzle because he gets through to the right person (therefore solving the puzzle) and is told that the puzzle is unsolveable. That’s not a puzzle. That’s a fuck you to the audience. A film is intended to be viewed in it’s entirety. Saying “yeah but you don’t know that until the end” doesn’t work.

      • koutchboom says :

        I mean is the first call he makes the call for the five million and they say no? Like you know in the first 10 minutes of the film that he’s fucked? Because if not, and you don’t find out until the last 1/4 of the film that they are not going to pay, then thats a puzzle.

        Both movies have the same set ups. Trapped somewhere with only one possibly of a way out. Just that Buried he ends up not solving the puzzle.

      • Droid says :

        Koutch, this is pointless because you haven’t seen Buried. Reading you repeating “its a puzzle” about a film you haven’t seen is getting boring because you don’t understand exactly what I’m talking about. We need to pick this up down the line when you’ve watched Buried.

      • koutchboom says :

        Not really?

        I mean like I said if he makes the call in the first five minutes and it turns out that they won’t pay and you know he’s fucked so you just spend the rest of the time sitting there watching him hopelessly trying to figure a way out when you know he’s fucked, then yes its a much different movie then saw and its not a puzzle.

        But if the whole movie is built up around him convincing people to get him the money/trying to find someone who will pay the money and its not up until the last few minutes are you told that they won’t pay the money, then thats the puzzle. The tension from both films come from the same notion, people trying to figure a way out of their situations so as an audience member you sit their with these characters hoping that the next thing they do will get them out. And over the course of both films as the characters try and fail you get worried that they won’t get out and fear that they will die. Just that in the end the Buried guy got fucked and one of the two Saw guys didn’t.

        So Buried is either A or B.

      • Droid says :

        Just watch the film when it comes out on dvd and we’ll discuss it then. Hopefully you won’t see it for a while because discussing that movie doesn’t do my blood pressure any favours!

      • koutchboom says :

        Way to not answer the question.

      • Droid says :

        Koutch, this is pointless because you haven’t seen Buried. Reading you repeating “its a puzzle” about a film you haven’t seen is getting boring because you don’t understand exactly what I’m talking about. We need to pick this up down the line when you’ve watched Buried.

        Just watch the film when it comes out on dvd and we’ll discuss it then.

        Way not to get the fucking point.

      • koutchboom says :

        Either pick A or B. Still that’s not an answer.

      • Droid says :

        But there isn’t a way out in Buried. In Saw there was a solution. Gruesome to be sure, but he did it and survived. In Buried he was at the mercy of someone else getting to him in time. There is literally nothing he can do to change the outcome of his situation.

      • koutchboom says :

        Ok well thats just the ending. I mean with Saw you never really knew if there was a way out, so there was no sure thing that if they cut their feet off they’d live. I mean both situations the people are helpless with little to no insurance that they will actually live. Saw could’ve ended with Robin cutting his foot off only to find out that the door opens to a brick wall.

      • Droid says :

        Yes, but it didn’t. That’s the difference. If Saw had ended like that I would hate it as much as I hate Buried, because it’s just cheating the audience.

      • Jarv says :

        Hang on.

        There’s a link here- you know the flashback at the end of Saw- it shows the key go down the plughole at the start of the film. Which is a dirty fucking cheat because the characters are effectively fucked from the start. Not to mention that the implication is clearly that the other guy dies there. Dread Pirate Wesley may or may not survive.

      • koutchboom says :

        Yeah I was going to bring up the key at the end.

        I mean either way there is POSSIBLE hope that either character may survive. Its not until the end that you find out that they are fucked. Had you known that in Buried that he was fucked from the get go, then yes its a completely different film. But you spend the whole time watching Buried thinking that he’s going to get the money and get free. Just like in Saw you think they are going to figure a way out of there.

      • Droid says :

        But doesn’t one of the characters accidentally drop the key down the sink? So it was initially a solution, but only after that solution was lost, they had to come up with another one.

      • Jarv says :

        No it wasn’t.

        The character has to sit up because he’s drowning. As he does the plug comes out and the key gets swallowed. It was never a solution on the table.

        I agree though. This needs postponing.

      • Droid says :

        Okay. Well that’s not a solution then. But at least there was A solution, even if it was cutting off your foot.

      • Jarv says :

        Actually, the foot solution was never the right one. It’s a death sentence. There is no way in fuck you can whack your foot off, crawl out of the cellar you’re in (bear in mind they haven’t a clue where they are) and raise help without dying (this is made fairly clear in the tape). The only correct solution was the key but that’s gone down the pipe.

        This is the thing that pissed me off about Saw, actually, was the key reveal. It meant the game was rigged from the start. The other solution, that we’ve not talked about, was if the other guy shot Dread Pirate Roberts. However, given how badly the other 2 possible solutions were fixed, this strikes me that this one wouldn’t work either.

        Not that heroically whacking your own foot off isn’t a brave and desperate thing to do, but they say in Saw 3 that he never made it.

      • koutchboom says :

        BUT HE DID MAKE IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ahahahahahahahahahaha

      • Jarv says :

        Oh bullshit.

        That’s terrible revisionism up there with Truman’s Dad reappearing with Amnesia. He was fucked.

      • koutchboom says :

        Id have to watch Saw 3 again….something I don’t know if I want to.

        Also its not that badly explained, because only Jigsaw knows that Robin Hood made it, and its not Jigsaw that says he didn’t make it in 3. Remeber Jigsaw kept everyone seperated from everyone else unless he needed to bring them together.

      • Jarv says :

        I disagree. He looks completely fucked, Amanda and Jigsaw both reference him being dead. It’s a rig.

        Which makes 3 even worse when it turns out that it’s Amanda that’s “playing the game”.

        Shit fucking film 3. I wonder if when 5 came along they just decided to pretend that 3 and 4 didn’t exist.

      • koutchboom says :

        I’d say so. I like five and six, they can stand on their own without being all flashbacky to 1-3. 7 relies on 1-3 though. Sure the plots of 1-3 come into play a little bit with 5 and 6, but you don’t have to see them to get it or care. Plus the whole fucking spiderweb of Saw plots is soo fucking manglied the only way I could discribe it right is if I made a fucking flow chart while watching all of them.

      • Jarv says :

        Even then 3 would fuck it. It’s so self contradictory, and why didn’t they just pass the fucking baton to Amanda rather than the idiotic explanation they came up with. Particularly given that Amanda’s traps were even worse than Jigsaw’s which made her a more frightening bad guy.

        The narrative lengths they went to in 3 and 4 was entirely due to the fact that they never meant to sequelise the first one.

      • koutchboom says :

        Yeah I agree with that. They sort of fucked themselves by making Jigsaw a dead guy pretty much at the end of Saw 1. Though thats what I like about the Saw films that its not just the same boogy man aspect. I get that it gets conveluted as shit but its interesting, while it doesn’t entirely work it was something different.

      • Jarv says :

        Matrix syndrome: Forcing the narrative to try to create a sequel when none was intended.

      • Droid says :

        No, the films aren’t comparable beyond exactly what you said. Wake up in a box. Cube is about characters figuring out puzzles, and working together, to get out of a giant puzzle.

        Buried is about a guy stuck in a box in Iraq with a telephone calling 911 trying get someone to rescue him. He’s not an active participant beyond that. He’s lying there waiting to die because he’s in a coffin sized box under the earth and cannot get out unless someone else gets him out. He is powerless. The Cube characters have power. They effect their outcome. It’s a huge difference.

      • koutchboom says :

        Right thats what I said. That on a pure baisc level cube and buried are similar that “being trapped somewhere unknown with no clear way out” could be considered torture enough. All I said is that the box office mojo people probably used that same logic to Cube. I get that they are vastly different, but they both probably started at the same initial notion.

  26. DocPazuzu says :

    Great review, Jarv. I’ve actually made it through Audition twice (the second time just to watch my sister’s reaction, which helped) and found it just as brilliant and distrubing as you did. Like you, I positively loathe torture porn and didn’t find Audition to be in even the same ballpark as that shit.

    Oh, and not to suggest them as banner-carrying films for the years they came out, I do want to give a shout out to Drag Me To Hell, which I loved despite expecting to hate it, and Jeepers Creepers 2, which is vastly underrated. I also really liked Dead Silence.

    • Jarv says :

      Cheers Doc.

      The reason I rewatched it is when we were talking about it yesterday I was convinced it was TP. I noticed so much more on second watch.

      Man, the way she saws at his fucking leg and the noise the wire makes while cutting through is agonising to watch. A great film, but not one I feel compelled ever to see again.

      We’re getting the opposing view from Droid next week.

    • koutchboom says :

      Really Doc? Dead Silence. I hardly remember the film now. I was really excited for it but in the end I was very dissapointed by it? I think it was the ending? I don’t know. What did you really like about it?

      I heard that Wan’s new one though is really good. Can’t wait for that. Between Dead Silence/Saw/Death Sentence I respect Wan and find him a very insteresting and talented film maker he’s very creative and inventive, he just needs another good story like Saw because those other two were just weak.

      • Jarv says :

        What year was Dead Silence?

      • DocPazuzu says :

        I liked the really creepy imagery (especially the terrifying scene with the guy trapped in the crawlspace when Mary Shaw shows up) and the atmosphere of dread which pervaded a lot of the film. Not to mention the eerieness of those fucking dolls.
        The Mary Shaw idea was slightly similar to Darkness Falls, but executed a lot better imo.

      • koutchboom says :

        Yeah I remember liking the tension and sets and look. I may have to watch it again? Maybe I just didn’t find it scary at all? Or it may have been the end?

        I just remember that Death Sentence and Dead Silence both had this same sort of BLAHness to them. Like niether of them stuck for me? Both of them had a bunch of good ideas that didn’t come together as a whole for me.

      • Droid says :

        I like Death Sentence quite a bit. It was the best of the three revenge movies to come out a couple of years ago.

      • just pillow talk says :

        One of The Bacon’s best.

  27. DocPazuzu says :

    Someone mentioned Ravenous, another fave of mine. So utterly mad, hilarious and disturbing.

  28. Jarv says :

    2005 has Haute Tension- which I haven’t seen but have heard is good. That’s a candidate surely?

    • koutchboom says :

      BLAH! That movie is OK. I guess if you haven’t seen it give it the ole look see. I’d like to hear your take on it. I don’t think its TP its just an extremely violent film.

    • kloipy says :

      Jarv, trust me, you will hate it. It starts off pretty good, but then just divulges into crap until the TERRIBLE ending

  29. DocPazuzu says :

    What year was Jason X? That was awesome, albeit not a year’s “best” in the strictest sense.

  30. Jarv says :

    I wanted a nice spread of stuff here, but Horror has been so bad that it pisses me off trying to split them.

  31. Bartleby says :

    Jarv, I suspect there’s some good, and hilariously bad horror out there you still haven’t seen. Maybe just start a series where you catch up with horrors you haven’t seen yet. Maybe take a list here, and peruse the internet (I’ll be honest and not recommend something just for dreadfulness sake) and set out on a ‘horror discovery’ or something, I don’t know. That way you aren’t limited by some contrived limitations and end up watching hoary crap.

    I’m looking for volunteers for a killer santa series over at PCN if anyone is up for taking one or two of them?

    Skip Haute Tension. It’s everything Koutch says it is. Suprisingly, I agree with K’s initial call of how placing cube and Buried in the TP category are wrong-headed. I don’t think the distinction is simply a philosophical one based off of whether a person escapes or not. For instance, by that respect, we could make a film where someone is brutalized and every other thing, and still manages to effect their own escape, and it would avoid the connotation because of a happy ending.

    But, it’s as Droid said, it’s his designation. Which is why I didn’t recommend Audition to him, because he will see it as TP. I don’t see a problem with that viewpoint, but I’d say if you were broadly or professionally categorizing films, neither Buried nor Cube would even come up, because they are about generating tension and fear, and, in some ways, actually emphasizing positive human qualities, regardless of the final outcome. They aren’t designed to invite the audience to enjoy viscerally the destruction on screen and they don’t make efforts to dehumanize the characters and then put them through utter annihiliation that prompts titilation. A film can be nihilisitc without being TP.

    Droid has mentioned that he likes Vanishing but not Buried, and I get and understand his meaning. I accept his reasoning, but I think, from a purely cinematic categorizing perspective, that throwing about TP as a descriptor is dangerous because for most I know it creates an instant stigma that neither of those above mentioned films deserve or have earned.

    • Droid says :

      The (original) Vanishing is simpy a brilliant film. It’s a 4 chang film. But it’s nothing like Buried. It’s about something instead of only being an exercise in audience manipulation, which is what Buried is. Like I said at the time, from a technical standpoint Buried is a superbly crafted film. But it doesn’t play fair with the audience. I hate the film, but admire the craft. Which is why I’d give it 2 changs.

      • Bartleby says :

        I agree with everything you said here, except the hate part of course. I only mentioned Vanishing to point out your designation wasnt based solely off the idea of a darker outcome. It’s about the choice as you put it. Vanishing ending is actually all about choice, more than anything else actually. It is, in its own right, both triumphant and horrifying.

        It’s funny because I think you have pointed out that the real problem is audience manipulation, not TP. I feel the same way about trite garbage like Patch Adams or Step Mom, or anything like that where a character is made sick or murdered just to twist the audience into knots. When it becomes something that’s mishandled and we spend time watching them die or wallow in it, then it’s just manipulation that devalues the character. We are watchign it just to be toyed with, not because its important to the character or to the story.

        Buried was destined to be an audience manipulation film, I just think it was well done. Its also the movie where I fianly stopped worrying and learned to embrace Xi’s mancrush on Ryan Reynolds.

      • Droid says :

        It took me ages to like Reynolds because of how much I hated him in Van Wilder.

      • Bartleby says :

        exactly! me too.

        Now, though I think he’s earned his spot as ‘it boy’. Heck, I even think Green Lantern looks fun. A good sight more entertaining than Green Hornet, and I like Martin Campbell.

      • koutchboom says :

        I’ve always dug Ryan, since back in his Two Guys a Gal and a Nathon Fillion days.

        Though I don’t remember Nathan Fillion ever being on that show, but he was.

    • Jarv says :

      I’m going to work through this by year first of all, but I’m not going to let the category die, and I’ll probably return repeatedly to 2007 as there’s loads of good stuff in there.

      There’s so much shit out there masquerading as horror. I’ll keep the schlock in the vault, but when I get something good, I’m going to include it under this one.

      Recently, I’ve seen a lot of things that are really good, and a lot of shit, and I’ve found it a bit frustrating that I’ve not had any category to do things like Cold Prey or Tale of 2 Sisters.

      This is a catch-all. I’m not going to (once I get to the end of 2010) do it by year or do a lot that I’ve seen untold times. It’s going to be for “new” things that I reckon are worth a go.

      • Droid says :

        I think I’ve seen the remake of Tale of 2 Sisters. Is the twist at the end SPOILERS!!! that only one of them was alive and she was imagining her or something along those lines?

      • koutchboom says :

        gay gay gay gay gaygaygaygaygay! Its got that chick from the Next 3 Days/30 Rock/Zach and Miri in it, whats her fuck.

      • Bartleby says :

        The Uninvited–the reamke of TO2S is a POS. It flatly destroys what was a great film. What a waste of a Straithairn

      • Droid says :

        You know what I think Jarv should for a series? PG13 horror. That’d be fun (for me).

  32. LB says :

    Hmm 2008… “Martyrs”.

    Ravenous was aces-that is one despicable, weird, awesome movie.

    Hmm 1978: Blood Sucking Freaks. The single most despicable movie ever made.

    Here it is on Hulu:

    I will never watch that fucking piece of shit ever again.

    We did, however, name our band after the sidekick…Ralphus.

    That is not us, though, this is us:

    Hmm-looks like we got deleted-no big whoop.

    • Tom_Bando says :

      Bronco, from what I remember, the last time you mentioned ‘Blood sucking freaks’, you warned us away from it , as it was ‘Not cool at all’. I will take your word for it and get back to the Gamera montage.

  33. Continentalop says :

    Any one here seen May? I remember that being an ok movie but I went in with really low expectations.

    • koutchboom says :

      I’ve seen May I think a couple of us have. I thought it was interesting. Its that slow horror movie.

    • Franklin T Marmoset says :

      I saw May, too. Not bad, an interesting little film.

      It’s similar to Audition in the way it’s mostly a quirky little indie drama and then it takes a really odd turn at the end. Also in that it’s about a female nutbag.

  34. Jarv says :

    I’ve seen May and it’s shit. Boring, contrived, art-house wank masquerading as Horror. It’s marginally better than the guy’s follow up Mandy Lane.

    Fatass wanked himself senseless over May.

    • Franklin T Marmoset says :

      I think his follow up was The Woods. That one was crap.

      • koutchboom says :

        Yeah the woods blew. I thought May was interesting though. It is sort of art house wank. But its probably one of the best arthouse wank wannabe horror films. Though all I really have to compare it to is The Woods/Antichrist/Demonlover, which all fucking blew.

      • Franklin T Marmoset says :

        Probably one of the best arthouse wank wannabe horror films!

        He he. They should have put that on the poster.

      • Jarv says :

        Shit. So it was. Getting confused. Still shit though.

      • Continentalop says :

        I don’t think May is as bad as their follow up film, Roman. Sure that has Kristen Bell but it still sucked.

  35. Xiphos0311 says :

    Jarv you are missing one salient point in your foot sawing argument, nobody would survive cutting off the foot unless there was a lot of medical aid present.

    For all intents and purposes there are only 2 main arteries in the leg and opening either one would cause you to bleed out in about 30 seconds. The one by the ankle, where you would have to cut, would breach. If you manged to somehow plug the wound before you bled out you would still probably die in a few hours instead of a few seconds due to volume of blood loss unless somebody was there to transfuse or replenish volume lost via salt water. The game is rigged.

    • Continentalop says :

      Actually I should see Audition again because I think the piano wire sawing device acts as a tourniquet. I can’t remember and maybe that wouldn’t even help him.

      • Xiphos0311 says :

        wire would slice the skin as soon as you tightened it up and the more you crank on it the more it would cut, think garrote. Tourniquets are made out of wide cloth or leather materials that you can tighten without causing further damage like a wire would. Of course if you don’t mind the time a tourniquet has been tight you risk a whole other bunch of problems.

        I hate being this guy.

      • Continentalop says :

        No I’m glad your that guy. Helps when I build my dungeon.

        But if I remember right she attaches wide leather straps first and then cuts the foot off underneath. Of course I could be remembering wrong.

        And your also saying the tourniquet would fuck him up as well. So the guys fucked (even if he survives he has no foot).

      • Jarv says :

        Now you mention it, she does put leg cuffs on him. Maybe their the Tourniquet.

        There isn’t enough blood.

        How had I blanked that out? I only watched it yesterday.

      • koutchboom says :

        Well it doesn’t come with the sweet tag line of “100% medically accurate.”

      • Xiphos0311 says :

        Conti you’re only supposed to leave a tourniquet tight(also the tourniquet is like the last resort option)for no more then 10-15 minutes, then let pressure off four about 5 then tighten again. If you don’t you end up with massive infection and gangrene.

    • Tom_Bando says :

      This is why we all travel down our own separate cinematic roads.

      *You get to watch someone’s feet being sliced off w/ piano wire.

      *I get to watch A*P*E* step over a 4 inch toy Holstein!

      I know, I know…the imagery is STILL seared into my brain.

  36. Jarv says :

    Cheers for the confirmation Xi. He’s clearly fucked at the end of that film.

    Would it make any difference if the cut is with wire or a saw?

    • Xiphos0311 says :

      A wire would probably slice the artery cleaner then a saw blade would but I don’t think a wire would get through bone unless you are using something industrial like EDM or the like. Or maybe not I could be wrong, still bone is pretty tough.

  37. Jarv says :

    It doesn’t. She really saws at it and it comes away twisted- she then atrtaches it to the other foot.

    Makes a horrible fucking noise.

  38. Jarv says :

    That’s a horrible fucking sound as well.

  39. DocPazuzu says :

    It’s not piano wire. It’s a wire saw, and it can cut through pretty much anything organic:


  40. ThereWolf says :

    I can’t know too much about it yet coz Audition is now on me Lovefilm list.

    But I have to say the new scoring system is enchanting. Well done.

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