SRP $29.99 1.78:1 DTS-HD Master Audio 5.0 SHOUT FACTORY
 
SHOUT FACTORY has released the cult favorite, "AUDITION" on blu-ray.  While this reviewer still doesn't consider it to be the "masterpiece" so many have proclaimed it, Director Takashi Miike does succeed in building a tense atmosphere. Shigeharu and his son have just bid farwell to the wife and mother whom has just died.  Jumping ahead a few years, we find Shigeharu's son and his co-workers are concerned about his loneliness, believing it's time to find a new wife.  So, Shigeharu and his friend conceive of the idea to stage an "audition" for a new wife, by staging a phony audition for an acting role. When a beautiful, soft-spoken "Asami" presents herself, it's easy to see why Shigeharu is smitten. There's something very attractive about her in addition to her looks. Or is this undefinable charisma, hiding something much more sinister?
 
As the narrative continues, it's evident all is not what it seems and Shigeharu's quest may have horrifying results. The slow emergence of the troubling secrets belonging to Asami, make "AUDITION" feel much more clever and fresh than what's found in most thrillers/horror films. The last 30 minutes of the film are close to breath-taking, and extremely gory. However, even as daring and impressive as most of  "AUDITION" is, the climax seems anti-climatic and muddled. It has the kind of ending that will leave many viewers scratching their head and others believing those unsatisfied just "don't get it!" Well, this reviewer still, after repeated viewings, "doesn't get it!"  Still, "AUDITION" is well-worth watching and easy to recommend, at least for those not sensitive to extreme, and unpredictable gore. "AUDITION" is not anything like a slasher film, but its gore is no less disturbing, even within the context of an intelligent, albeit confusing film.
 
SHOUT FACTORY has provided a 2 disc special release of "AUDITION" with blu-ray for the first disc and dvd for the 2nd.  The proper 1.78:1 aspect ratio is presented in this 1080p/AVC encoded blu-ray. Colors vary in their intensity, due to the director's intent for a colder atmosphere in various scenes. However, when colors are rich, they're a notable improvement over the crappy looking dvd previously available from LIONSGATE. Contrast is typically very impressive, with fine detail, never succumbing to shadows in darker scenes. Unfortunately, grain can be intrusive in spots, and there are some age related imperfections popping up in various scenes. This problem appears to be related to the source material rather than the remastering. While there are a number of scenes, appearing flat, the majority offer great depth, and fans of the film should be extremely pleased with the overall quality of this release.
 
SHOUT FACTORY has provided fantastic options and improvement over previous offerings. Both Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio 5.0 mixes are offered.  Miike has created a gripping and immersive environment to "AUDITION" perfectly complimented here. Discrete and ambient effects add just the right subtlety and nerve-wracking impact to key scenes. Even when attention is focused to dialogue and the front soundstage, the clarity and overall dynamic range is extremely impressive.  While it would've been nice to have some deep bass to a few scenes, it will be hard to find fault or a major consequence to the absense of bass in the stellar lossy mixes provided. 
 
Additionally the subtitles have been upgraded substantially in their translation. Comparing scene-to-scene with the Lionsgate dvd, the phrases utilized have deeper resonance and accessibility. A major difference that can't be overstated enough!
 
SHOUT FACTORY has included some great extras for this release, including a extremely insightful and engaging commentary with the director and Saisuke Tengan on the blu-ray disc. It does require a level of patience at times, but it's well worth listening to in its entirety.
 
The dvd(2nd disc)offers interviews, various featurettes and trailers.