“Nature does not proceed in a straight line, it is rather a sprawling development.” – Robert Smithson, creator of Spiral Jetty
FEATURING: Eriko Hatsune, Fhi Fan, Hinako Saeki, Eun-Kyung Shin, Keiko Takahashi,
PLOT: High schooler Kirie notices a growing and dangerous fascination with spirals throughout her small town, beginning with her friend Shuichi’s father, who develops a compulsive need to own and consume objects with the pattern. The affliction spreads to her classmates, who take on whorled physical characteristics and even transform into snails. With increasing numbers of cases and deaths, Kirie and Shuichi decide if they should–or even can–escape.
- Uzumaki was adapted from a manga by , who makes a cameo of sorts on a “Wanted” poster in the sandal-wearing policeman’s office.
- Production on Uzumaki began before Ito had finished writing the series (possibly at the studio’s insistence, so that it could coincide with the release of another Ito adaptation, Tomie: Rebirth). As a result, the manga and film have significantly different resolutions.
- A four-episode animated TV adaptation was announced in 2020; it is still in production after many delays.
- Director Higuchinsky took his name in tribute to his birthplace of Ukraine. This was his first feature, up to this point having worked primarily in music video.
INDELIBLE IMAGE: It’s not the most shocking sight, nor does it draw upon the many examples of body horror that define the spiral epidemic. But the appearance of an enormous spiral-shaped storm in the sky, which begins to coil downward and reach out to the town like the accusatory finger of God, is when Uzumaki lays all its cards on the table. The spiral is everything, can reach everywhere, and will affect everyone.
TWO WEIRD THINGS: Mr. Saito’s eyes; Kyoko’s crazy curls
WHAT MAKES IT WEIRD: Uzumaki lacks a proper monster, any kind of terrifying villain. The bad guy here is a curling pattern. It’s to the film’s credit that it not only pulls off this unlikely trick but adorns it with truly unsettling examples of its malign influence. The fact that there are no sorcerers or alien invaders to blame only makes the events of Uzumaki more unnerving. This outwardly harmless force has no clear point of origin, no cause to be addressed, which only makes its effect on the populace more disturbing.
Original trailer for Uzumaki
COMMENTS: In order to appreciate the strangeness of Uzumaki, it’s Continue reading 39*. UZUMAKI [SPIRAL] (2000)