This is an anthology of 3 short horror films, each directed by a famous director from Hong Kong, Japan and Korea. Each film is about 40 minutes long. As the name suggests, the films are touted as some of the most extreme stuff you will ever see. And to some extent, they live up to that name.
Each film has its own style of horror that more or less adheres to its country's norm. Korean films tend to be artistic and dreamy at times. Hong Kong films are more straightforward with horror and gore. Japanese films create a sense of foreboding, with a gloomy atmosphere. All these aspects are faithfully and respectively retained in the 3 films that make up Three...Extremes
The first film is Dumplings
, directed by Fruit Chan (Hong Kong). And boy, this is probably one of the most twisted stuff you will ever see. The story is about a woman, who is aging, childless and has to endure her husband's extra-marital affairs. In desperation, she goes to see a person named 'Auntie Mei', who is famous for making dumplings that when eaten, apparently restore youthful looks to women. However, these dumplings have a secret ingredient that you will not wish to know. And when you do, be prepared for the nastiest, grossest stuff you have ever seen!!
Suffice to say, Dumplings
is the best film out of the three. This is an example of how truly twisted asian psychological horror can be. Even if you are like me, not easily grossed out, there are some really discomforting scenes. And they are so realistically shot that they do make you squeamish. The film explores the obsession of women with looks and how far they may go to satisfy such needs. The ending scene is seriously messed up and will linger long in your mind.
Good plot, disturbing scenes...you may never want to eat after watching Dumplings
. DON'T MISS THIS!
The second film is Cut
, directed by Chan-Woon Park (Korea). This is more of a black comedy rather than outright horror. And it contains all the elements of Korean horror - artistry, introspection of social issues and an ending that needs to be interpreted properly by the viewer for understanding what actually happened.
is the story of a film director and his wife, who are taken unawares at night, when a psychopathic guy who had been an extra in several of the director's films enters their home and subjects them to a horrific ordeal. The psychopath ties up the director, superglues his wife's hands to a piano and starts cutting off one of her fingers every 5 minutes. His motive? Well, he feels that the director has it all - he is rich, has a comfortable life and to top it all, is a decent guy well liked by everybody for his good nature. How unfair is that? Rich guys must not also be good guys, they must be immoral. Otherwise, what do the poor people like these extras have that is uniquely theirs?
So, can the director save his wife? Will he be tempted to 'sin'? Is he really a good guy? And what are the skeletons in the closet that reveal themselves during such an ordeal?
is a brilliant movie in the genre of black comedy. It addresses the question as to what circumstances cause a person to become a psychopath. And it also questions whether people are really all that they seem. This film is a work of art and the ending is excellently done.
The third film is Box
, directed by the famous Takashi Miike (Japan). It tells the story of two girls who worked as contortionists under the guidance of their father. The 2 girls could contort their bodies and twist themselves to fit into boxes, upon which their father would shoot a dart at each box, and the boxes would open to reveal flowers where the girls had been. It is clear that the father is also partial to one of the girls and considers her as the better performer....and maybe as something more than just as a daughter.
However, all this is past. The story takes us to the present, and to the life of an adult novelist, Kyoko (who may or may not be one of the girls). She has recurring nightmares about being trapped in a plastic sheet & fire. What is the connection between these nightmares, and the contortionists? If Kyoko is one of the girls, What happened to the other girl? And what secret guilt does Kyoko harbor?
You may not understand much from what I have written, but that is because Box
is a non-linear movie. It blurs the distinction between reality and dreams. The plot is fairly understandable, but it needs some intelligence to figure out what the hell is actually happening. The film explores themes of incest, pedophilia and sibling rivalry in a remarkable manner. At the end, the interpretation of the film as a whole is left to the viewer.
is a good film, but opinions may vary depending on the viewer's taste and understanding of the film. I liked it very much, and it is a worthy addition to the other two.
Must watch for fans of psychological horror. As one who watches many foriegn films, I can say that countries like Japan and Korea are masters of horror. Unlike Hollywood, whose plots are too stupid and involve badly constructed scenes/ghosts (some exceptions being Saw, the first movie, Descent 1 & 2 and remakes of japanese horror) and unlike Indian Cinema (Tamil, Telugu, Hindi movies), whose idea of a horror movie is just plain amateurish except for one or two, these guys are aware that the masses do not get spooked by actual ghosts and take note of the plot. The horror movies are often investigative, inquiring and even address social issues. The right formula for success.