Uzumaki (2000) Movie Review
Written By: JEH
Edited By: Grave Reviews Staff
Producers: Sumiji Miyake
Writers: Junji Ito (Manga), Takao Niita, Kengo Kaji, Chika Yasuo (Screenplay)
Date Released: February 11, 2000
Eriko Hatsune as Kirie Goshima
Fhi Fan as Shuichi Saito
Keiko Takahashi as Yukie Saito
Ren Osugi as Toshio Saito
Shin Eun-kyung as Chie Maruyama
Hinako Saeki as Kyoko Sekino
Rating = 3/5 Graves
***May contain some spoilers***
Kirie Goshima (Eriko Hatsune) notices that Shuichi Saito’s (Fhi Fan) father has been videotaping a snail. She tells him about the incident, and he starts to open up about his father’s sudden obsession with spirals. Tired of his father’s strange fascination, Shuichi throws away his spiral collection. However, this just makes his father’s obsession worse and even more unnerving. Little by little, the inhabitants of their town also show interest in spirals. It is up to Kirie and Shuichi to solve the mystery of the spirals before the worst happens.
Uzumaki (2000) has a lot of weird sights and it does not shy away from going over the top with the visuals. For a movie released in the early 2000s, the special effects and the graphics are better than expected. Some effects might feel cheesy, but it blends well with the mysterious town in the story. Expect to see twisted limbs, cut off fingertips, a body mangled after an accident, and death by washing machine.
The Grave Review
Uzumaki (2000) is based on the well-loved horror manga (Japanese comics) by Junji Ito. Higuchinsky, an avid reader of the manga compilation, desired for the adaptation to be faithful to the source. While it’s safe to say that the direction fell into capable hands, the film is not the perfect adaptation.
What drags the film down is the acting. It’s not new for Japanese live-action adaptations to imitate the actions, dialogues, and mannerisms of their illustrated counterpart. Most of the time it does not work because it appears awkward, unnatural, and forced. Also, the voices of the actors are very animated and do not connect with the dull acting. Imagine Kirie sounding very surprised but her face and eyes barely move. Or Shuichi sounding very concerned but his eyes look blank.
But despite the questionable acting, the movie does everything right. The cinematography knows how to show viewers the entirety of the situation, but it can also get uncomfortably close to give the creeps. What also makes the cinematography effective is the accompaniment of ominous music that captures the intensity of the scenes. The result is a claustrophobic atmosphere that lingers and stays with you even after the movie ends.
“It’s as if none of this were real. But if it’s all a dream, I hope I wake up soon.” Kirie’s line from the near-end of the movie is the best way to describe the experience Uzumaki (2000) gives. The film is more of a horror experience, not something to make you scream or piss your pants. It feels like walking into the bizarre reality of the town and watching the people descend into madness. Also, do not expect to have everything explained to you. Watch this expecting to experience a waking nightmare that makes sense until it doesn’t.
If you’re a fan of the manga, keep in mind that the movie was released before the series ended. So if you’re expecting iconic scenes to be in the movie, you will be disappointed. But Uzumaki (2000) still gives a wonderful horror experience and deserves to be seen. It might even require a second viewing because there’s a good chance you missed a couple of scares. Enjoy the weirdness.
Because of the foregoing reasons, Grave Reviews gives Uzumaki (2000) three graves out of five graves.
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