Talk about a movie that will ruin your day. Audition left me disturbed in a way few movies have. I will try to put this into words without spoiling anything...
The first half of the movie's running time is taken up with a perfectly innocuous premise that wouldn't be unusual outside of a sitcom. A single father in Japan is looking for love but can't seem to find the right girl. A friend is a casting director who offers to hold an "audition" for the man to find a new woman. The one he is immediately drawn to turns out to have a lot going on...none of it good.
I think the first moment you realize something bad is going on comes when the protagonist is just knocking on a door and we get a sudden cutaway to a severed tongue flopping on a dirty floor. With no context and no idea why we just saw that, the impact is very disturbing. These sorts of creative choices go on for the rest of the movie. There is a long shot of a phone ringing in the girl's apartment with a giant burlap sack in the background. The shot goes on forever with everything static except the ringing of the phone. Finally, the phone stops...and something inside the bag jerks violently. I wish I could say that these were just a few standalone creepy moments but, before the end, you'll see some things you never wanted to see. Also, without giving away too much, this movie has one of the cruelest uses of the "was it all a dream?" cliche I have ever seen.
I'm in no hurry to watch this again but this is about as horrific as I've seen short of a snuff film.