Director - Higuchinsky
Year - (2000)

In the long line of movies that just dont make sense, some of them have been good. Memento, the plot twisty reverse-order psychological thriller that came out a few years back is a good example. However, for every Memento, there is a flick likeMulholland Dr., that everyone touted as a great psychological flick, simply because it made no frickin sense. Lesbian love scenes between Naomi Watts and Laura Harding aside, I just didnt get that movie. A lot like I didnt get Uzumaki.

First off, whenever you do a Japanese to English dubbing, without a doubt, things are going to be Lost in Translation. (Man I loved that movie.) But with Uzumaki, Japanese for Spiral and a symbol for chaos, there had to be a heck of a lot I didnt get. Not to say that my misunderstanding distracted from the horror or my overall enjoyment of the flick, but it wouldve been nice to know.

Now for the Summary: High school students Kirie and Shiuchi live in a pretty farked up town. Not that it starts out that way, but little by little; things take a turn for the Evil Dead. All of which have to do with the spiral symbol. For example, Shiuchis father, Toshio has become obsessed with the Spiral, finding comfort in the shape, and lashing out at everyone around him that distracts him from the symbol. This comes to a climax when finally he commits suicide by jumping in a washing machine. To turn himself into a spiral. Now if Ive lost you there, we can be lost together.

The gist of the movie follows Kirie as she reacts and runs away from various townsfolk who have all become enamored with the spiral symbol, and one by one, begin to transform into something otherworldly. Honestly, though I didnt get why this was happening, I didnt really care. Horror is a little bit scarier when you dont know why the monsters are showing up, where they came from, or more importantly, how to fight them. But even then, there were moments where I just sat and thought, huh?

Despite that, the best moments in this flick come from the creativity in the kills, and the extremely messed up deaths and transformations that some of these unfortunate Japanese folk have to endure. While there were moments that I was lost in the subtitles, I immediately was drawn in when a character suddenly turns into a human pretzel, after being infected by the Uzumaki. My favorite scene, happens after Toshios funeral, when the clouds themselves begin to spiral, sort of like a bedspring, down into the heart of the town. Much like if I ever encountered a toilet that began to fill up with blood like in The Amityville Horror, that would be the moment when Id have to drop whatever I was doing or whoever I was holding, and get the hell out of town.

This is going to be a short review, simply because if you havent been sold yet that this movie is worth checking out, theres not much I more can reveal without going into spoiler territory. The performances were extremely over the top, and for this movie that worked well. Also, there is a lot of creativity behind the camera, where the director chose to shoot the movie from awkward sideways and upside down angles, as well as using a few horror movie tricks, like using the negative image of the picture, which I havent seen since the 80s. Kudos for that.

Overall, if youre not a fan of Japanese cinema, and havent found the time to check out flicks like Ju-on, Ringu, Verus or Suicide Club, this might not be your kind of movie. While those movies had something unique about the way they handled the horror, Uzumaki left me thinking, What the Hell was that? Only in some instances was that a good thing. Points for creativity all around, but deductions for making me scratch my head more than once.

Reviewed By - Evil Ash

Rating ( 3 of 5 )



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