Audition is a 1999 Japanese psychological horror feature film directed by Takashi Miike and starring Ryo Ishibashi and Eihi Shiina. It is based on a Ryu Murakami novel of the same title. Over the years, the film has developed a cult following.
For its unflinching graphic content, the film has been likened to the film adaptation of Stephen King’s Misery and Nagisa Oshima’s In the Realm of the Senses. However, the sadistic scene in the movie is very brief, and only a few shots show the actual torture, focusing more on Asami’s enjoyment of it.
Among filmmakers featured on Bravo’s 100 Scariest Movie Moments (on which the film appeared at #11), notable horror directors including Eli Roth, John Landis and Rob Zombie found the film very difficult to watch, given its grisly content; Landis said that the film was so disturbing that he couldn’t enjoy it at all.
Bloody Disgusting ranked the film fourteenth in their list of the ‘Top 20 Horror Films of the Decade’, with the article saying “Considered by many to be Takashi Miike’s masterpiece, this cringe-inducing, seriously disturbed film boasts one of the most unbearable scenes of torture in movie history… It’s revolting in the best possible way; the prolific Miike goes for the jugular here, and he cuts deep.”
“Asami remains one of cinema’s most memorably twisted psychopaths. But Miike’s masterpiece never lets the hero off the hook either, transforming Audition from a simple cautionary tale into a full-on autopsy of Japanese masculinity.” Tom Huddleston, Time Out
Agitator: The Cinema of Takashi Miike – Tom Mes, FAB Press, UK, 2006
101 Horror Movies You Must See Before You Die – Edited by Steven Jay Schneider, Cassell Illustrated, 2009