Three Extremes

From Fruit Chan’s “Dumplings”

Billed as “three masters of Asian horror cinema” together for the first time, Three Extremes is anything but a unique Asian horror cinema experience. Opening with director Fruit Chan’s “Dumplings,” an effortlessly creepy pean to classic Asian cinema from the 50s or 60s (think Japanese ghost stories like Onibaba), the collective film as a whole seems initially promising. Soon though we realize that Chan’s short is really only superb in it’s cinematography, and without the standard voyeuristic, slo-mo laden and heavily saturated shooting style of Christopher Doyle, “Dumplings” would be a bore. Why slow motion on the pot of boiling water? Who knows.

From Chan-wook Park’s “Cut”

It should come as no surprise then that the film delves directly into overindulgent territory with Chan-wook Park’s “Cut.” A short about a film director who is “too nice” for his upper-class lifestyle, he’s held hostage in his mansion/film set by a regular extra from many of his previous films. The angry extra wants nothing more than to make the director hurt somebody before he let’s him or his wife go, all the while “directing” them as if they were marionettes in his own twisted production. The build-up, torture-porn infusion and twist-ending payoff add nothing to the story and so “Cut” continues on as boring as the collective film began.

From Takashi Miike’s “Box”

Finally, we reach solace with Takashi Miike’s closing short “Box,” a well thought out short story and gorgeously shot final addition to the trilogy. Miike uses all the best parts of his style to create a short, sweet and although easily predictable story, a spooky one nonetheless. If you see Three Extremes, watch the first 15 minutes and then chapter through until you get to Miike’s film – it’s the only thing worthwhile in this 2004 advertising ploy for the then-rising Asian horror cinema movement.

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