Variously translated Spiral or Vortex, Uzumaki is yet another one of those Japanese Horror films that is disturbing or odd and at some place inaccessible to western Audiences. It provides the same mysterious non-explanation of events that haunts films like Ringu and Gu-on and so the film comes off more as a nihilist dadaist exercise in film-making. Indeed, as I watched it, the Dadaist classic, Vormittagsspuk which I saw in a short film festival with Un Chien Andalou.

The film centers on the obsession of first one character and then many others with spirals and spiral patterns. The real infection in the film is this obsession which gradually turns people into giant snails and sends the smoke from their cremations into the atmosphere in anti-tornadoes.

I don't know what the point of this film was or what I was supposed to derive from it in terms of horror or even sense. However, that said, I did enjoy it on its own terms. There was a kind of surrealist/dada sensibility to it that permeated it in a far more profound way than anything since the 1930s. The events make no real sense, and yet they are compelling and interesting to watch and the film plays out to an inconclusive conclusion that is its beginning.

While not particularly frightening, it is eerie and unsettling, and perhaps on some level even thought-provoking.

Recommended for fans of Japanese Cinema, Horror Movie Completists, and Dadaist/Surrealists. Wouldn't recommend for anyone younger than teens.

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This page contains a single entry by Steven Riddle published on August 6, 2006 12:31 PM.

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