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on 14 August 2003
Based on the Uzumaki graphic novel's by Junji Ito, this movie adaptation, directed by Higuchinsky, is an amazing visual feast.
The plot revolves around the people of a smalltown 'Kurouzucho', who are becoming increasingly obsessed with the spiral patterns which seem to be taking over the entire town.
The transfer from book pages to the big screen have been achieved amazingly well, much of the images from the book have made it into the film in all their glory (especially the imaginative death scenes), thanks to great work by the special effects team. Solid performances all round by the cast, and an atmospheric score complete a great film. Any fan of Asian cinema (or film in general!) should definately pick this one up.
This DVD package comes with behind the scenes footage, artwork, promotional material, and the usual trailers and cast/crew bio's.
A decent DVD package and possibly the best film I have seen all year give this 5 stars.
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on 24 June 2003
Uzumaki is a horror movie based on the manga of the same title, while things start off as they do in the original comicbook, things tend to go off course a bit and alter the original's timeline.
Most of the latter half of the manga is missing from the movie, which is a shame, but given that the movie has onlt 90 minutes to tell the story, it can be forgiven.
Uzumaki centers around a small coastal town called Koruzocho, a town infected with spirals. Spirals are everywhere, they swirl i nthe clouds above the city, the are in springs, in snail shells, they are on our finger tips and inside out ears. In Koruzocho, however, they go alot further, even forming tuimy whirlpools in the steet gutters after rainfall. Within the town, two students named Kirie and Shuichi, who are dating begin to unravel the danger of these spirals as chaos begins to mount around them. People start to turn int osnails, others get fixated with the spirals, but that is only some of the dears they will uncover.
Some portions of the manga arte transferred truthfully, but much of the manga is missing, especially the disturbing chapters on the pregnant women feeding off the blood of other, Jack In A Box is also cut short, the latter half missing from the movie.
While recommended, it is better to read the manga before watching this release, it explains alot more than the movie does and delves alot deeper into the mystery and origins of the spirals that infect Koruzocho. I also found the movie to be round up far to quickly, but the way this is handled is done well.
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on 1 April 2012
Higuchinsky makes his phenomenal feature-length debut with Uzumaki (Spiral), one of the most original, surreal and subtly terrifying horror films of the last decade. Based on Junji Ito's episodic manga of the same name, the premise of the film quite literally depicts Kurouzu, a small Japanese town and its inhabitants being possessed / infected by spirals. Not a plague of zombies, vampires, werewolves or anything Hollywood would ever dare consider whilst producing a horror film; but spirals.

The beautiful Eriko Hatsune plays Kirie Goshima, our central character, as she gradually begins to notice that something is not quite right in her small, isolated town. Whilst skipping to her boyfriend's house, she notices his father filming a snail; she's intrigued, though when she asks what he's doing he is entirely non-responsive. As the film progresses, the relevance of spirals throughout the film becomes increasingly bizarre and obsessive. Kirie's father commits suicide via a washing machine which spins his corpse into a spiral, local students begin to transform into snail-like creatures and an enormous spiraled cloud formation looms in the sky over Kurouzu with an ever-growing sense of menace.

Over recent years, we've seen a few treasures in Japanese horror cinema; Ringu (1998), Dark Water (2002) and Ju-on (2002), to name a few, though Uzumaki seems to be a forgotten gem amongst the greater successors. Perhaps this is due to its decidedly abstract concept as it manifests in excessively grotesque ways, or perhaps it is a product of the `Lost Decade' in which Japan experienced economic turmoil and recession throughout the 1990s. Higuchinsky could potentially have been toying with the idea of his country being destroyed or taken over.

With a fabulous sense of David Lynch inspired surrealist humour reminiscent throughout Uzumaki, the film boasts some alarmingly frightening and wildly imaginative set-pieces such as a girl whose hair comes alive in spirals, similar to the Greek mythology monster, Medusa, and local residents transform into enormous snails and begin to crawl up the sides of buildings. All of this terminates in an astonishingly chilling, mysterious, non-resolute finale comprised of a mixture of live action, oil paintings and stop motion animation.

That said, Uzumaki does not come without its flaws. One of the main problems is that we do not particularly have any characters we can thoroughly connect with or care about. Obviously we have Kirie herself, who however is just a child; as the film is aimed at a much more adult demographic, we find ourselves feeling eventually slightly disconnected from her story. Furthermore, the film's storytelling is highly unconventional and, in retrospect, fairly difficult to understand. Because of this, it doesn't help that the editing is so hyperactive; clearly we can see, particularly demonstrable in the various scenes in which Kirie bumps into her persistent admirer, that it's shot and edited in such a way that connotes a spiral. This is extremely innovative and clever, though is potentially distracting or even off-putting for certain -more mainstream- audience members.

Still, Uzumaki remains one of the most astoundingly original offerings of horror cinema the world has encountered in over a decade and certainly deserves a much wider audience.
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on 31 July 2008
The three-part comic novels are brilliant and well worth more reads due to them being so full of really far-out and memorable scenes.

Sadly, this film, although very good, is way too short and doesn't include the more 'interesting' scenes from the comics. It could easily nail most of it in perhaps 3 hours.

The key scenes are there but without the elaboration you read in the books. I think a lot more could have been added to make an even more unforgettable and quite horrible experience! Would need the 18 certification but unsure if it would be deemed TOO much for production? Be interesting to know. More human snails, the eerie mosquito women scene and the row houses in book 3 would explain a lot more about the horrors of the elusive "Spiral" phenomina.

It is visually stunning, greens and vivid reds and reminds you that it is a comic book tale. A psychadelic look.

One of my favourite films for sheer imagination and definately recommended to Manga/comic/surrealism fans or anyone wishing to see something quite different. I mean, suicide in a top loader washing machine??? Great!
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on 21 January 2012
Shame this gem is not easier to come by, I got it a few years back....a truly unique horror film, one of my favourite Asian/Japanese ones, along with Pulse, the original Ring films, and the even more overlooked Nori the Curse (even harder to get too)

I highly recommend picking up this and the excellent manga masterpiece by Junji Ito it's based on...the original artwork and different, deeper ending more than makes it worth getting, but the alternative ending of this film works really well too...

It seems like a typically Japanese daft idea at first, but the film is actually a seriously weird, mindbending, fairly creepy and, like the original manga, definitely Lovecraft-influenced horror story...though set in a fairly oldy-woldy Japanese town, it has this ever mysterious otherworldliness that sets it apart from any other J-Horror I have seen (apart from perhaps the other Junji Ito adaptations, none of which I have seen)

The general look, cinematography, the soundtrack...can't fault anything in this film really
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on 16 December 2010
I knew about that movie before I bought it here in Amazon, and yet I decided to have my own original copy of the DVD. Then I was gladly surprised when I checked that, in this edition of the DVD, the translated English subtitles were much more accurate than those I was able to get on the internet when I first saw this movie online (probably ripped from earlier/other editions of that DVD, or maybe translated by fans), which makes the story more interesting and coherent and not so random. For example, the subtitles in the sequence in which the reporter who's helping to solve the mystery is looking for information about the spiral curse at the library.
The DVD comes with subtitled Behind-the-scenes featurette & trailer from the movie apart from the usual extra contents.
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on 19 November 2013
Adapting Uzumaki to film was never going to be easy anyway; although the manga plot follows a very basic arc, it runs through several very different volumes. It'd be more suited to a TV show - but it's too late for that. Here we are.

The film totally ignores the third volume of the book, which is annoying considering the third book includes THE CONCLUSION. Instead, the films makes its own ending. An abrupt one. That isn't fulfilling.

I think the worst thing here is that it starts so promising. It has this weird, eerie feeling that creeps in. The problem is it eventually fails to go anywhere, crumbling under its own weight and stumbling to no interesting end.
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on 10 October 2004
I really wanted to like this film as im a big fan of the original trilogy of books by Junji Ito. It starts well, its shot well and the acting is okay but, in my opinion, wastes so many set pieces and feels unfinished.
This should have been a series of films or TV series although it is understandable that the budget required to created the visuals in the latter books would have been huge.
If you don't know the books then you may enjoy this film although you will be left wanting more as the film just finishes with no real conclusions.
If you have read the books, you will be dissapointed.
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on 28 November 2005
Five stars is not enough for this fantastic film. The director started out making videos (rock, etc) and is a devotee of manga - where uzumaki originates - and the film looks like live manga! the set up of each shot looks like a manga frame. The overall look of this film is atmosphereric and the acting by the young heroine (in her first film role) is top notch. I simply cannot not reccommend this film enough. I've watched it four times already and could watch it over and over again! A must see for any fan of japanese films.
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VINE VOICEon 19 May 2003
Very weird and trippy. Has no real plot as such but has bags of freaky atmosphere and visuals with some gory moments. If you like the original "Ring" you'll probably like this, I would have given it 5 stars if it had some plot. As a surreal experience though it rates very high. Think Japanese mix of Cronenberg and Lynch.
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