Country: Hong Kong / Japan / South-Korea
Director: Fruit Chan, Takashi Miike, Chan-Wook Park
Starring: Bai Ling, Pauline Lau, Byung-Hun Lee, Won Hie-Lim, Kyoko Hasegawa
From the Nightmares of 3 Horror Masters
Three… Extremes is a follow-up to Three from 2002. Both contains three horror segments, one from Japan, one from South Korea and one from Hong Kong. It’s sort of an asian Masters of Horror concept if you will.
The first one is from Hong Kong and is called “Dumplings” by Fruit Chan. This was also released as a full length movie, but works just as good as a 40 minutes episode here. Dumplings are cooked balls of dough, usually with some sort of fillings and in this episode everything is about the fillings. Mei makes special dumplings filled with stuff from dead fetuses and her customers eat them because they make them keep their young beauty.
One thing is for sure, after watching this it will be hard to try dumplings if you’ve never had them before. It’s a very grueling and shocking film, but also very relevant to our society today where beauty are looked at to be key to success and happiness. I’m not familiar with most of Fruit Chan’s work (he did make a movie called Public Toilet which I’d like to see), but he does a great job here. Dumplings look great visually and the actors work very well together. The relationship that Mei and her main customer Ching developes is great, especially Bai Ling as Mei is terrific and this is my favorite out of the three stories. I wouldn’t rank Hong Kong in the top when it comes to horror from asia, but they scored a big goal with this one.
The second episode is “Box” by the already legendary filmmaker Takashi Miike from Japan. Box is about a troubled novelist who are having nightmares about her childhood. When she was a child, she and her twin sister was a part of their fathers magic show. Their father favored one of the twins more than the other and one night when one of them is practicing, the other does something horrible to her.
This episode is very bizarre and it’s not that easy to know what is going on all the time. It’s also setup for a nice twist at the ending (or perhaps it’s not a twist?). It’s a very weird piece of work and also got some very nice visuals, but this does not come close to my favorite work of Miike. Although it’s well shot, I was a little disappointed by this be honest.
The last episode is “Cut” from South Korea. A horror movie director wakes up from unconsciousness to find his wife trapped with her fingers superglued to her piano caught. A young child is tied down on the sofa nearby and the director is also tied up. A weirdo pops up and tells the director that he has been an extra in every one of his movies and the director never remembers him so he now takes revenge by making the director to do an evil deed. The director has to choose between watching his wife lose her fingers, or he can stop it by killing the innocent child.
This is the work of Chan-Wook Park, who is mostly known for Oldboy. As with the two others, this is visually way above most other stuff out there today. It could have been nicer if the maniac had a “bigger” reason for his revenge plot, but the game to survive is still fun here and it’s a nice segment.
Three… Extremes is a collection of three very different stories with no real connection to each other. All are made by talented directors and all have something different to offer the viewers. I find the collection to be quite good and it might perhaps be a nice start for someone who is unfamiliar with asian horror.