6.4/10
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Exte: Hair Extensions (2007)

Ekusute (original title)
About hair extensions that attack the women that wear them.

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(screenplay), (screenplay) | 2 more credits »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Yûko Mizushima
Megumi Satô ...
Yuki Morita
Tsugumi ...
Kiyomi Mizushima
Eri Machimoto ...
Sachi Kôda
Miku Satô ...
Mami
Yûna Natsuo ...
Kondô
Ken Mitsuishi ...
Tatsuo Sugawara
Hiroshi Yamamoto ...
Jirô Tamura
Tetsushi Tanaka ...
Yaguchi
...
Yuriko Shiina
Ayaka Onoue ...
Nana Katô (as Aya Onoue)
Ryôsuke Nagata ...
Yûta Sakurai
Erika Mine ...
Sarina Tanaka
Mari Hayashida ...
Yukari Suzuki
Yôji Tanaka ...
Takashima
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Storyline

What if extensions carried the grudge of the individual to which the hair originally belonged and started attacking people wearing it at random? Customs agents discover a huge amount of human hair used as materials for 'hair extensions' along with the dead body of a young girl with a shaved head. With the corpse being soon transported by the police, the results of the autopsy determine that the woman's internal organs have been harvested. The possibility is pointed out that she was kidnapped in some foreign country and was a victim of black market human organ racketeering ring. A sinister, fearless smirk comes over Yamazaki (Ren Osugi), the morgue night watchman. Yuko (Chiaki Kuriyama) is a young wannabe hair stylist apprenticing at the Gilles de Rais hair salon. After working late each day, after returning home, she tirelessly practices her skills on head mannequins with wigs. One day, her sister, Kiyomi, forcibly entrusts her eight-year-old daughter, Mami, to Yuko. For some reason, ... Written by Grady Hendrix

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

What lovely hair you have...

Genres:

Comedy | Horror

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for violent and disturbing content, some terror and language | See all certifications »
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Details

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Release Date:

17 February 2007 (Japan)  »

Also Known As:

Exte: Hair Extensions  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Connections

References Casablanca (1942) See more »

Soundtracks

Haruka
Music by Zentaro Watanabe
Lyrics by Eri Machimoto
Performed by Eri Machimoto
Courtesy of SME Records
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User Reviews

 
Revenge of the hair
17 October 2008 | by (http://www.onderhond.com/archive/onderhond/category/movies) – See all my reviews

Ever since the wave of Asian suspense films started in the late 90s, the horror genre regained its mainstream popularity. The Asian market spawned an overload of long-haired ghosts, the European market followed with some fine gorefests and nail-biters and across the ocean, Saw conquered the theaters and kick-started a whole circus of remakes, rip-offs and sequels. In short, horror is hot again.

In between all this genre work are still a few films that dare to be different, coming from directors that are more interested in the genre itself than the hype surrounding it. From the beginning, Sion Sono was a director who failed to fit the specific horror mold. Even though his first fan favorite, Suicide Circle, was marketed alongside films as Ringu and Ju-On, he never quite fitted in with the typical J-Horror wave. Apart from the social themes found in his films, it's the general weirdness that separates him from the generic horror template. With Ekusute, his latest effort, he's back to take revenge.

Ekusute is a film about hair. Long, dark, mysterious, Asian hair. One of the most commonly used elements in the Asian suspense wave. Needless to say, the storyline is as crazy as it is fun. When a girl is tortured and murdered for her organs, they also cut off her hair. Obviously, the hair doesn't agree and starts to grow back from her dead body. A local morgue attendant with an extreme fixation for hair finds out and takes her home with him. He starts using her hair for a hair extension business he's been running on the side, at which point the hair extensions go on a murdering rampage. Hell yeah! To make things "worse", Sono contacted Ren Osugi to play the part of the perverted hippie hair fetishist. I still remember the first time I watched Osugi in Hana-bi and Sonatine. Back then I figured he was a normal actor playing an uncharacteristically strange role. We are now several years later, and I know better. Osugi might look like a normal, older guy, in reality he is one of Japan's most insane actors, taking on whatever perverted, quirky and twisted role he can find. He goes completely over the top in Ekusute, giving the film its final nudge into insanity.

Ekusute is for the biggest part a parody on Asian horror flicks, playing around with a bunch of clichés and plot points. The whole hairy background story is crazy, Osugi's performance completely off the charts. Sono manages to be quite creative with the elements at hand, coming up with some interesting death scenes and original plays. But beside all the madness, the film works on another level. Sono integrates a side story about a tormented little kid which gives the film some extra grit and depth. It's the mix of all these elements that makes Ekusute quite dark and unique.

Visually, the film is quite unstable, with rather plain visuals in its dramatic moments. But whenever Sono plays the horror (or freak) card the visuals become top notch. The scenes in Osugi's room are marvelous, making excellent use of lighting and hair effects to create shots that linger on the eyes. In between scenes Sono even tries some Tsukamoto-like magic, with rapid-fire editing of images filled with hair and accompanied by distorted sounds. As a whole, the film is visually pleasing, though it would've been nicer if it had been a little more consistent in its style.

The film remains a strange mix of elements. In the beginning it looks like a simple parody on the J-Horror genre, but after a while other elements creep in which make the film more disturbing than it should have been on first sight. It never plays on scares, but still manages to become a dark and brooding film, topped with some craziness and surreal moments (mostly those with Osugi). It's a bit hard to recommend, as Sono's characteristic blend is rather unique and contains many tricks that might put people off. Still, I enjoy his films as they always succeed in bringing something new to the table.

Ekusute might feel like his most commercial film to date, but that is mostly a disguise. It's a fun, crazy and surprisingly eerie film. 4*/5*


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