Mar 102019
 

I wasn’t as big of a fan of Audition as some and don’t consider top-tier in the J-horror sub-genre mainly due to the surreal nature of the second half but the performances from the two leads were great.

 

 

Audition
(1999)

Genre(s): Horror, Suspense, Drama
Arrow Video | NR – 115 min. – $39.95 | February 12, 2019

Date Published: 03/10/2019 | Author: The Movieman


MOVIE INFO:
Directed by: Takashi Miike
Writer(s): Ryu Murakami (book), Daisuke Tengan (screenplay)
Cast: Ryo Ishibashi, Eihi Shiina, Tetsu Sawaki, Miyuki Matsuda, Jun Kunimura
DISC INFO:
Features: Audio Commentaries, Interviews, Trailers, Gallery
Slip Cover: No
Digital Copy: No
Formats Included: Blu-ray
Number of Discs: 1
Audio: Japanese (DTS-HD MA 5.1)
Video: 1080p/Widescreen 1.85
Subtitles: English SDH
Disc Size: 47.34 GB
Total Bitrate: 40.75 Mbps
Codecs: MPEG-4 AVC
Region(s): A

Arrow Video provided me with a free copy of the Blu-ray I reviewed in this Blog Post.
The opinions I share are my own.


THE MOVIE — 3.75/5


Plot Synopsis: Audition follows Aoyama (RYO ISHIBASHI), a widower who decides to start dating again. Aided by a film-producer friend (JUN KUNIMURA), Aoyama uses auditions for a fake production to function as a dating service. When Aoyama becomes intrigued by the withdrawn, gorgeous Asami (EIHI SHIINA), they begin a relationship. However, he begins to realize that Asami isn’t as reserved as she appears to be, leading to gradually increased tension and a harrowing climax.

Quick Hit Review: After hearing some great things about Audition, I was looking forward to this J-horror picture and while it is an interesting movie to say the least, it doesn’t come close to measuring up to Ringu and Kairo (Pulse), though this does feature tremendous performances from the two leads, Ishibashi and Shina, the latter utterly frightening, of course any person using a needle is scary af. Added into the mix, a disturbing and utterly gross scene where… well, I shudder to even spell it out; one of the grossest scenes in (at least mainstream) cinema.

Although Audition is nowhere near the top of the list of the J-horror genre, it still had plenty of strong suits from a somewhat normal first half before plunging face first into a surreal and bizarre second with dreams with dreams (or nightmares) culminating with the needle sequence as on display on the various home video releases with Asami holding the syringe looking eerily calm versus devious or evil.

 

SPECIAL FEATURES – 4.0/5


This single-disc release is housed in a clear HD Keep Case and inside is a 16-Page Booklet. All of the features from the 2009 Shout Factory release have been ported over and include a couple new items from Arrow Video.

Audio Commentaries:

  • Director Takashi Miike and Screenwriter Daisuke Tengan
  • Miike Biographer Tom Mes

Both of these are interesting with the former being subtitled so not quite as personal, though still informative hearing from the filmmakers while the second track with Mes goes into Miike’s career and breaking down certain scenes.

Interviews:

  • The Ties That Bind (30:07) — Director Takashi Miike (NEW)
  • Tokyo – Hollywood (16:15) — Actor Ryo Ishibashi
  • From Audition to Vampire Girl (20:10) — Actress Eihi Shiina
  • Miike’s Toy (20:57) — Actor Renji Ishibashi
  • The Man in the Bag Speaks (16:27) — Actor Ren Osugi

Each of these interviews has the actor, or director, discussing a little bit about their careers before delving into their work on the film.

Damaged Romance: An Appreciation by Tony Rayns (35:22) is a new featurette with Japanese Film Historian Rayns deep diving into the cast and crew and eventually on film itself. If you like these academic-like features, it is a fascinating watch.

Trailers:

  • Japanese Trailer (1:40)
  • International Trailer (1:18)

Gallery

 


VIDEO – 4.5/5


Arrow Video is the latest studio to release Audition on Blu-ray following the 2009 Collector’s Edition from Shout Factory. But this is some straight port, like others from Arrow, this received an exclusive restoration in 2K resolution culled from the original 35mm Interpositive where upon thousands of instances of dirt, debris and scratches were removed via digital restoration tools. Stabilization was also worked upon and density fluctuation was improved upon. As noted in the booklet, the jump cuts were retained as they were present in the film’s original release.

And with all that work done, this 1.85 widescreen and 1080p transfer of Audition absolutely looks incredible. Detail is nicely defined throughout and colors appear to be retained without appearing bolstered and instead at key moments certain colors had pop to them such as the reds when Aoyama was searching for Asami. The film’s nature grain and noise was retained giving this likely the best transfer as one probably first saw this in theaters back in 1999.

AUDIO – 4.0/5


The movie includes a Japanese language DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track (taken from the original magnetic reels) which, although nothing phenomenal, still sounded quite good with clear and crisp dialogue through the center channel while the front and rear channels get some modest usage for ambient noises or off-screen action.

 


OVERALL – 3.5/5


I wasn’t as big of a fan of Audition as some and don’t consider top-tier in the J-horror subgenre mainly due to the surreal nature of the second half (especially considering the film is more grounded compared with others in the genre) but the performances from the two leads were great and stylistically, Miike’s direction was visually engrossing.

 

 

 

 

Check out some more 1080p screen caps by going to page 2. Please note, these do contain spoilers.

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