Junji Ito (manga), Kengo Kaji (screenwriter)
Eriko Hatsune as Kirie Goshima
Taro Suwa as Yasuo Goshima
Fhi Fan as Shuichi Saito
Ren Osugi as Toshio Saito
Keiko Takahashi as Yukie Saito
As I quest to find the best horror films, I have been attracted more and more to what the Asian film makers have to offer. They have brought much needed originality to a somewhat stagnant genre over the past few years. This 2000 Japanese offering is one such film that is chock full of originality.
First things first; Uzumaki is “spiral” in Japanese. The small town of Kurozu-cho is cursed. Something, or someone, is causing the towns inhabitants to become obsessed with spirals. The story revolves around Kirie Goshima (Eriko Hatsune) and her long time friend Shuichi Saito (Fhi Fan) whose father, Toshio Saito (Ren Osugi), has become fascinated with the design. He has a need to film and collect anything that even resembles a spiral. Toshio is so obsessed that he finds a rather unique way to commit suicide. Toshio’s death has a maddening affect on Shuichi’s mother, Yukie (Keiko Takahashi). Yukie is sent to a mental hospital where she proceeds to destroy everything that has a “spiral”, including taking a knife to her finger prints.
Shuichi and Kirie are confronted with two goals; they must find out what is going on in Kurozu-cho and they must get out of Kurozu-cho before they get caught up in the spiral.
This has got to be one of the weirdest movies I have ever seen. Taken from a Junji Ito manga (graphic novel) of the same name, this Japanese treat is a cross between Lovecraft and David Lynch. Higuchinsky makes use of the little town atmosphere with a strong cast and a somewhat disorienting directing style to make a classic yet very original J-Horror film.
I recommend Uzumaki to any fan of Japanese horror or the horror fan that wants a change of pace. Don’t try to figure it out though as you will surely get a headache. Just sit back and enjoy.