Today I had a few hours to kill, so I watched Uzumaki. Uzumaki is yet another post-Ring Japanese horror flick that probably would not have warranted American release if fanboys like myself were not creating demand for Japanese horror. Adapted from a manga series by the same name, Uzumaki (which means “spiral” or “vortex”) is about a town that is becoming increasingly influenced by, well, vortexes. Now, if you are wondering how a shape can exert influence over a town, welcome to the club. Sadly, the movie fails to answer this question; instead of dealing with difficult topics like personal relationships and back-story, the film stumbles through a mediocre introduction and then proceeds with mediocre gore. No explanation of the premise is ever attempted, and even if you accept the events that are occurring in the film, the events themselves are still nonsensical.

Technically, Uzumaki is a mixed bag. The acting is terrible, with a protagonist that seems like she’s trying too hard and a boyfriend stuck in empathy-less monotone for the entire film. Surprisingly, some of the editing is pretty well done: the director has tried to wrap the movie with little disconcerting references to spirals (including a few post-processing effects that are interesting), and some of the shots are very well composed. That said, there are also some awful scenes, including one that reminds me of a scene from Vertigo that may have worked in 1958 but looks very lame now. The sound design isn’t bad, but after a while everything seems to make the same sticky crackling noise.

The manga that spawned Uzumaki is probably a lot better than the movie. I suspect that the movie is a collection of scenes or short story snippets taken from the manga, which might explain why the movie makes no sense and the story seems to go nowhere. Overall, it’s an interesting rental if you are the type of person who likes looking for technical details (see how many spirals you can find in the regular scenes), but otherwise skip it.

14 thoughts on “Uzumaki

  1. You really should not review movies. Not only does it take away from the website as a whole, but your opinions are always awful to read.

  2. I suppose you are entitled to your opinion… though the irony here is palpable.

    “Opinions are like assholes; everybody’s got one and everybody thinks everybody else’s stinks.”

    Yeah, how dare you do what you want with your site that we can all read for FREE? The nerve!


    I thought the movie was great fun, but then again I like things to be as weird as possible. The manga does little to illuminate what’s really going on, but it goes MUCH further and is still Ito’s best work. The movie ends about 1/2 way through the overall story. GYO (manga) was pretty terrible, and TOMIE (the manga) is OK, but a little weak. The TOMIE movies are really bad IMO.

  4. Despite your capitalization of the word “video”, I’d prefer this site to be about horror games and horror in general. I don’t intentionally post about movies that I hate–I just post about horror movies that I see. You might remember that I throughly enjoyed The Shining, and I posted my thoughts about that movie here. I’ve recently seen a number of films that I enjoyed, including Cure and pretty much everything else Kiyoshi Kurosawa does, but those movies aren’t really horror so I haven’t posted about them.

    But really, if you don’t like my posts you probably shouldn’t be reading my web site.

    As for Oneechanbara 2… I admit that I haven’t played the first one, but from what I’ve seen it looks, well, horrible. Seven Samurai 20XX was a pretty bad game, and replacing the protagonist with a scantily clad female is not really my idea of product quality. Since I haven’t played it I could be full of crap here, but the videos make it look pretty bad. Regardless, it isn’t covered here because it isn’t a horror game, and this site is supposed to be about horror.

  5. One more thing in case I wasn’t clear in my last post: I don’t intentionally mean to be negative. I didn’t hate Uzumaki, I just thought it was flawed. What I’m ultimately interested in understanding is which features of horror media are consistently successful, and which consistently fail. If you read my About page, that’s my stated reason for running this site: I want to understand how horror works in video games (and movies, and literature) so that I can draw conclusions about horror media in general. I don’t hate all horror movies, but I’m disappointed with many of them. I don’t intend to rag on everything, but I’m particularly interested in understanding why some game or movie fails so that I can better understand how it could have been better.

    So I critique a lot. If it’s not your cup of tea, maybe you should read other web pages. I can easily recommend Snowblood Apple (check my links page) if Japanese horror movie reviews are your thing.

  6. Kevin is just looking for pub on his new website
    that is an Oneechanbara fan one. I looked
    it over briefly. This is a D3 series? The
    mark of a straight to the bargain bin title
    for sure. I did enjoy The Sniper 1500 tho’
    It was fun for the budget they had.
    Just the price of getting lots of hits eh Chris?

  7. See, I personally dont think Blue Stinger, Galerians or a few other games listed are horror. They are action games with scary creatures, and thats what Oneechanbara is too, and scary action game, because all of the creatures are zombies, or scary dead things. And its WAY violent too, which is another horror theme. Gore and zombies, and boobs. Its SOO 80s!! 😀
    But Im just a HUGE fan of the game, and I think having it listed here would hopefully give it a little more exposure, that I feel like it deserves.

    oooohhhhh, I get it now. You only want game that you think are SURVIVAL HORROR, and not horror game in general. ooooooohhh, ok. It would be cool if you made another section to horror themed games, like an “honorable mentions” and then say “this is a horror game because of the blood and zombies, but not a survival game because it is action” Zombies ate my neighbors and Oneechanbara can be under that! Or like, blood reigh is horror in that its gothic and focuses on vampires, but not survival because its an action game where you try to survive….or something.

  9. ive read that! a million times
    i dont agree with it
    and going 2 the forums isnt going to get oneechanbara on here, so im giving up

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