Uzumaki (aka Spiral)
Director: Akiro Higuchi
Year: 2000
TRT: 1:30

Almost creepy, in a lot of ways. This is both ideal and hamstrung by the Japanese style of storytelling, creating intriguing layers of the story around a somewhat bland protagonist. She really takes back seat, though, to the weird visuals the movie surrounds itself in. It's about spirals, afterall.

It starts small, and slowly spreads out. (Spiral. Get it?) The people of a small Japanese town are eventually overcome by an obsession with spirals, leading to madness and much worse. Young Kirie witnesses it first-hand, initially through the growing oddness of her boyfriend's father. Then it affects more and more people, spreading like an infection. Or a curse. Considering how dismal the whole town seems in general, you wonder if they're pretty much all fucked.

Atmospheric, to say the least, with some very decent cinematography. Too bad it doesn't really follow through on the minor tangents it goes off on, as I think that would have made this much more interesting of a film (like both the reporters' perspectives). I question if it's as involving as your average movie, as it doesn't have much of a payoff as to what the fuck is really going on besides this apparent curse on a small town and its growing effects. Definitely very trippy, though.

Great Scene: This almost monochromatic scene of a centipede that's somewhat prophetic and discomforting.

DVD Notes: Image Entertainment apparently beat Media Blasters to the punch on this one, probably because there isn't much gore involved. Disc includes a nice transfer of the film, plus an 11 minute "Behind the Scenes" deal that has moments of coolness but otherwise is pretty dull, and a collection of camcorder footage used in the film. Why this is anywhere even remotely close to interesting, I have no idea. Subtitled (obviously) and a good DD 5.1 audio mix.