I am aware that most of the horror community has become very agitated lately over news that Takashi Miike's cult classic, Audition will be remade. You may be familiar with my refusal to hate remakes just on principle; I will always watch a remake with an open mind, because sometimes they are better. I'll take the first remake of The Thing over the original any day and you know what? I flippin LOVE the Maniac remake. While the original The Fly has it's charms, it doesn't hold a candle to the remake. I know, I know, we could go round and round about whether or not remakes have a place in this world, but I would like to be the first to openly admit that I am not angry about the imminent Audition remake. Quite frankly, I'm surprised it took this long to happen and I would also like to be the book nerd that lets you know that this will not be the first time this particular story has been told.
Audition is a Japanese novel from Ryu Muakami; published in 1997, it was translated to English in 2009. The story of Aoyama, a documentary film maker who is lonely after being widowed, he takes the advice of his friend and sets up a mock film audition. While the ladies believe they are auditioning for the film role that will start their careers, they are, in fact, auditioning to be Aoyama's new wife. Really more of a novella, Miike ran with Muakami's material and took it to an infamous level of horror. Though Audition is held in very high regard by most in the horror community, Miike does not have a spotless record. In fact, many people find his other work to be uneven and rather lackluster.
Let's be real; Audition begins to feel a wee bit tedious and just when you're about to check out, you get the "kiri, kiri" treatment. Please don't misunderstand, I adore Audition. I love how the ending comes out of nowhere, I love that Japanese movies always seem to find a way to keep someone in a burlap bag, I absolutely adore her fierce "kiri, kiri" outfit and I cannot get enough of how uncomfortable that ultimate scene makes me. On behalf of any woman who has ever been treated as an object, I applaud the young lady for her patience, determination, anger and utter joy over dolling out her own brand of revenge. I don't condone the behavior, but I do enjoy watching it play out.
For every film buff that loves Audition, there is one that doesn't care for it. Easily pigeonholed into the much maligned and super unsavory "torture porn" niche, some people find this movie offensive and overly violent for no real reason. Honestly, did you initially watch this movie because you heard that it was amazing or because you heard that it was so incredibly horrific? I am not ashamed to be in the latter category. Thankfully, I truly do love the movie as a whole, but I am an easy target for Japanese horror. I just love the very unique look and feel to it that just cannot seem to be duplicated. So, I suppose my only concern over the Audition remake is how it will compensate for not being a "true" Japanese horror film.
Since I'm on a roll here with the unpopular opinions, I will now add that I think Spike Lee did a fine job of Americanizing Oldboy. Yup, I really did. Nope, I do not feel ashamed. More often than not, the biggest complaint against any J-Horror remake is the changes that are made to the story, but they are necessary. We must remember that not every single person has seen the original film. In fact, it's best to assume that they haven't seen the original film and, therefore, may not be able to wrap their brain around some of the narrative nuances that are specific to the Japanese culture, hence, the liberties taken when a story is rewritten for a broader audience. Sometimes, a remake is a great movie and it inspires first time viewers to seek out the original and isn't that the point? To share the story with as many people as possible?