Critics Consensus

Uzumaki uses its creepy, David Lynch-inspired atmospherics to effectively build a sense of dread, but ultimately fails to do anything with it.



Total Count: 25


Audience Score

User Ratings: 6,373
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Uzumaki Photos

Movie Info

Based on the phenomenally popular horror manga by Junji Ito, Uzumaki is the debut feature of Japanese music video director Higuchinsky (born Akirhiro Higuchi). Something strange is going on in the small town of Kurozu-cho. Kirie Goshima (Ericko Hatsune) notices Toshio Saito (popular character actor Ren Osugi), the father of her longtime friend, Shuichi (Fhi Fan), videotaping an extreme close-up of the spiral pattern on a snail's shell. Shuichi explains that his father is acting strangely, and impulsively asks Kirie to elope with him. She shyly demurs. Later, Toshio asks Kirie's father, a potter, to make him a plate with an uzumaki, or spiral, pattern. Shuichi and his mother, Yukie (Keiko Takahashi), are increasingly alarmed by Toshio's obsession with all things spiral. When Shuichi throws away his father's collection of spiral objects, Toshio is unconcerned. "The idea's enough," he tells his family, "One brings forth one's own uzumaki." He then proceeds to do just that, in bizarre and disturbing ways. At school, Kirie sees a boy gleefully hurl himself to his death at the bottom of a spiral staircase. Another boy shows up to class late, moving suspiciously slowly, and covered in slime. A popular girl, Kyoko (Hinako Saeki), curls her hair into Medusa-like spiral patterns that eventually engulf the entire hallway. As the town slips deeper into madness, a reporter, Ichiro Tamura (Masami Horiuchi), shows up to help Kirie and Shuichi search for the reason, which seems connected to a strange occurrence years ago at nearby Dragonfly Pond. Uzumaki is not to be confused with Joji Iida's Rasen, the sequel to Ringu, which also featured Saeki. ~ Josh Ralske, Rovi


Critic Reviews for Uzumaki

All Critics (25) | Top Critics (9)

  • Uzumaki progresses like the life cycle of a butterfly, only the subjects begin as human beings and contort into giant snails, powerless to stop their bodies from betraying them.

    Oct 19, 2018 | Full Review…

    Scott Tobias

    AV Club
    Top Critic
  • Pic duly places less emphasis on narrative than on the sort of surreal set pieces that might have worked better in the graphic-novel form.

    Feb 11, 2010

    Dennis Harvey

    Top Critic
  • Adapted from a horror comic by Junji Ito, this debut feature from Japanese music-video director Higuchinsky begins eerily but doesn't take long to descend into silliness.

    Apr 18, 2007 | Full Review…
  • Gussied up with so many distracting special effects and visual party tricks that it's not clear whether we're supposed to shriek or laugh.

    Oct 3, 2002 | Rating: 2/4
  • Required viewing for horror fans, Japanese-cult-cinema fans, and anyone who digs settling in for an unsettling David Lynch evening.

    Jul 12, 2002 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…
  • Ultimately the, yes, snail-like pacing and lack of thematic resonance make the film more silly than scary, like some sort of Martha Stewart decorating program run amok.

    May 15, 2002

Audience Reviews for Uzumaki

  • Nov 10, 2013
    Uzumaki is a bizarre horror movie that ends up being more funny than scary, thanks largely to its ridiculous special effects that are too over-the-top to be taken seriously. The plot focuses on the small Japanese town of Kurozu-cho, where people are becoming increasingly fixated on and obsessed with spiral patterns. The spirals eventually take over their lives and cause strange supernatural occurrences, including more than few bodies being contorted into spiral shapes. Unfortunately, the weirdness of the premise doesn't really amount to that much. It's more campy than scary, but it's not always very funny because it seems to take itself somewhat seriously despite its exaggerated special effects and plot. Because it's not consistently scary or funny, it just occupies this middle ground that means it's not weird or bad enough to be so bad it's good, but also not good enough to be a creepy horror movie. It might be worth seeing for a few select scenes, but otherwise Uzumaki is an eccentric but mediocre horror movie.
    Joey S Super Reviewer
  • Aug 03, 2013
    Booo! Was expecting a lot more from this!
    ZACHO D Super Reviewer
  • Sep 05, 2011
    I'm struggling to think of something positive to say about this movie, but nothing is coming to mind. Just didn't enjoy it at all, and it's probably one of the worst Asian horror movies I've seen.
    Lewis C Super Reviewer
  • Jul 04, 2011
    This Asian Horror had a lot of good going for it, but unfortunantly failed to really pull me in. It did have great atmosphre, some genuinely zany special effects, a concept that is very unique and at least one scene that will stay with you after the movies run time and leave you wishing that the rest of the movie was more like that. (The scene in question is when the mother is in the hospital and stabs herself in th ear with broken glass.) Unfortunantly the movie manages to be a bit of a disappointment despite all of these good qualities. I felt like it never really decided what is was going for. The humour and the sillier aspects get in the way of the genuinely creepy supernatural horror that this film would otherwise be. The pace is very slow, and I suspect that the director was going for an Audition style "slow burn" set up, but in the end it just ends up being slightly dull (also doesn't come through with an insane ending like Audition did, instead at the end the viewer will simply be left thinking "that's it?") This film isnt terrible either, and is worth watching for fans of supernatural and Asian horror, for me it did fall slightly flat though. Not as memorable as I would have hoped for, but worth a watch.
    Ed Fucking H Super Reviewer

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