is the kind of film that you don’t want to see alone. A widower auditions women for a part in a film that will never be made. The first part of the film is a bad romantic buildup. Yet, the somberness of the scenes makes you appreciate the second part, all in all, one megalithic cliffhanger - the mood changes from musak to gothic. The young and beautiful Asami,admits to helplessness and loneliness. Later she takes pleasure in torturing Shigeharu, the director who hires her under false pretenses.
There are few films in which women seem to have this kind of role but they are classics. For awhile it seems totally believable that Asami wants to settle an old score with men who use women for their own selfish purposes. The woman has had an incredibly rotten childhood with severe child abuse including being burned by a wicked uncle. Her mission is to search and destroy the ones that evoke this abuse.
We are exposed to the emotional poverty of Asami’s life but the cause and effects are so grim, that one can not help but wonder the whole time if she is not a revengeful spirit. Indeed she is often clothed in a white gown, the traditional color of death for women in Asian countries. So the plot weaves in and out of reality and dreamstates.
Suspense in the film is built primarily through the relaxation of certain scenes to the point of triviality and prolonged daily rituals of monotony. The film then delivers gruesome painful drawn out scenes which constitute the horror of the film.
In one scene Asami inflicts Shigeharu with tiny needles while as in a children’s rhyme she softly speaks ‘Deeper deeper deeper’, with an evil smile on her face. We feel compassion for Shiegeharu as the grieving widower, and the son who pressures his father to meet someone new after seven years of grieving the loss of his mother.
Male sexual fantasies are interwoven with violence,though in this case it is a woman who takes revenge.Shigeharu’s deceit is certainly subject to scrutiny for putting women under a microscope to find if they will serve as his future wife. Asami knows this game, for it is she who responds to the audition. She reveals that a ballet accident has made her feel close to death, and this is what attracts Shigeharu to her.
Immediately his boss who sits at the audition with him senses something is not right. We know from the beginning that a horrible fate is in store, as we seem something that movies in her spartan room in a gunny sack, tied at the top with a string- that moves. Don’t say you weren’t warned for the carnage that follows.
In the end the thoroughly fetishized Asami, dressed in a black rubber apron with matching gloves up to her elbows administers a drug that paralyzes her victim,just as we are paralyzed in the film as spectators waiting for the torture to commence and finally to cease.
For Movie Magazine this is Moira Sullivan Stockholm
© 2005 - Moira Sullivan - Air Date: 8/10/05
South Korea/Japan - 1999