I'll see your Leatherface and raise you Girlfriend From Hell.
There are some great things that have been happening in Asian cinema over the past few years, particularly in the genre of horror. These films have truly pushed the boundaries of how far into hell filmmakers are willing to take their audiences. And the new frontier - perhaps the only one left - that many of these horror films explore is the concept of torture. The Torture Movement has heavily influenced films like the Saw series and Hostel. I'm not sure how I feel about this trend. On the one hand, it seems incredibly gratuitous and distasteful. On the other, when it's done artistically and done well - I know that sounds like some film critic BS, but there are times when it can be done well - it can be a very effective device.
I've only seen a few of the 70 projects for which Audition's director, Takashi Miike, has received a directing credit. So I don't really know if it's a trademark of his or not. However, I know that the three films I readily associate with him - including Audition - all feature torture as the paramount creep factor.
Audition centers around a widower who, with the help of a friend who works in the film industry, sets up a fake audition to find a new wife. Despite how strange that setup might sound, the guy is very normal and a quintessential "nice guy." One girl in particular catches his eye, and he takes her out to dinner. He tells her he'll call, and when he does, we see her sitting on the floor of her apartment, staring at the phone and having been staring at it for quite sometime before it rang. There is a burlap bag in the background, and while we're staring at this crazy chick staring at her phone, it suddenly, violently flips over. At this point, the DVD goes on pause while the viewer goes to change his/her underwear.
The relationship between the widower and the girl progresses, and the girl appears to be very fragile and damaged. But we see her again in her apartment and find out what is in the moving bag ... a man. A man who is missing all kinds of body parts (tongue, ear, fingers, and more). The girl proceeds to vomit into a bowl and feed it to the bag!man.
As if that weren't disturbing enough, we go from there into the climax of the film. The girl has the widower spread out on the ground. She's wearing a little white dress, black leather boots, black leather gloves, and a black leather apron. So, okay, we get the general idea of what she's about to do to him. Cue obligatory shot of the torture weapons. They're not typical torture weapons, though. The girl is very tiny and fragile and her torture instruments are very slim and delicate - syringes, acupuncture needles, wire, etc. But it's a brutal torture sequence, and the little-girl glee on her face as she's doing these unspeakably cruel things to the poor guy is - GAH!
This movie hasn't been around long, but it's already in the annals of scary classics, and for good reason. It will freak you the hell out.