Uzumaki directed by Higuchinsky. Review by Lisa Schussler

Book Cover
This Japanese horror film is based on the manga, of the same name, created by Junji Ito. It's, literally and figuratively, a twisted tale of insanity and death.

Something odd is happening in a small Japanese coastal town. An evil force is causing people to become infatuated with spiral forms, leading to madness. Snails, fish cakes, fingerprints, and other everyday items become objects of obsession. Students turn into giants snails; a strange load of laundry goes through the wash; a woman becomes fearful of the spiral inside her ear; a conceited classmate dons a bizarre hairdo. Kirie (Eriko Hatsune) and her childhood friend, Shuichi (Fhi Fan) are the first to notice these strange happenings. Together with a reporter, Ichiro Tamura (Masami Horiuchi), the two teens investigate the mysterious cause of the Uzumaki as the townspeople, one by one, fall under its perpetual spell of death and destruction.

Filled with fascinating special effects, Uzumaki succeeds at doing what good horror is meant to do: it forces us to look at our world and accept that, sometimes, evil things just happen. The movie offers no reasonable explanation for the power or origin of the Uzumaki. It does provide some clues but never pieces them together for us. It is pure Lovecraftean cosmic terror with a comic book twist. If you're into watching horror movies that don't coddle you with happy, neatly tied-up endings and you're not averse to reading subtitles, watch Uzumaki.

Lisa Schussler is a medical scientist, long-time reader, and horror fan. She has entered several fiction writing contests and is currently moderator of the Horror Forum on the Bestsellers & Literature online community.