Tuesday, October 13, 2009


It starts small, a man in a little Japanese village becomes obsessed with snails because of the spiral (uzumaki) pattern on their shells. Slowly, his sickness starts to spread, the whole town becomes obsessed with spirals, as if the spiral is some sort of sinister, omnipotent force. People start drawing spirals everywhere, collect anything with a spiral on it, kill themselves by contorting into spiral shapes, turn into giant snails.

Kind of a neat premise, I know. I read a few issues (or whatever they call them) of the manga that this was based on a few years back. It was not a great comic, I didn't think the execution quite lived up to the concept, but it was memorably bizarre and somewhat creepy.

The film retains the bizarre but loses all the creepy and instead replaces it with absurdism. I don't know who this Higuchinsky fellow is that directed Uzumaki, but as best I could tell, he interpreted the material as almost comedic instead of horrific. If I'm misunderstanding his intentions, it's because the film is all bombast and no atmosphere. The actors have all been instructed to turn it up to 11, constantly shouting and mugging. The film is a never ending series of fast zooms, whip pans, sped up footage, slow mo, fish-eyed lens... you name it, they stuck that obnoxious gimmick right in there for the world to behold.

What I'm saying is that I kind of hated Uzumaki.

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