I hate Junji Ito’s horror manga. I say this not because his manga is bad but because it is bloody good and thus, bloody terrifying. His work has inspired such cosmic dread in me that whole summer days have been ruined and I have been left a shuddering wreck trying to convince myself that his horror can’t happen to me. Thankfully films based on his work are much more fun.
Everything starts with a girl named Kirie (Eriko Hatsune) staring at her town of Kurouzu from a nearby hillside. Something strange happened there. Cut to a few days earlier and Kirie is running through town on her way to meet her boyfriend Shuichi (Fhi Fan). She encounters Shuichi’s father Toshio (Ren Osugi) who is absorbed in filming a snail shell’s spiral. After meeting Shuichi she hears how bad Toshio’s obsession with spirals is. Shuichi has a bad feeling about the town which he believes is cursed by the shape of a spiral, something which becomes increasingly obvious as more and more people around town succumb to strange deaths involving spirals. It isn’t until Toshio dies that Kirie and Shuichi are spurred into action. With the help of Ichiro, a local journalist, they search the town history and find dark secrets linked to ancient mirrors retrieved from the nearby Dragonfly pond and a cult obsessed with spirals.
Do you know where spirals are? Everywhere! Lollipops, cakes, snails. Just look at your fingerprints, hair. Try your ears. Even the insides of your ears have spirals… Imagine having spirophobia and want to destroy spirals or being so obsessed with spirals that you allow them to take over your whole life. The potential physical and psychological destruction is huge and amusingly demonstrated in this film.