In the segment "Cut," towards the end of the film there is a panning shot looking in through a window. The reflection of one or more persons standing on the outside portion (the side the camera is on) can be seen. See more »
Lions Gate's U.S. version changes the order of the segments. In the original Asian release, the order was "Box"/"Dumplings"/"Cut." The American release has been changed to "Dumplings"/"Cut"/"Box." See more »
Disturbing and effective, but also rather simple omnibus
Known as Three... Monsters in Korea, where I bought the DVD, Three... Extremes is an omnibus horror film like Twilight Zone: The Movie and similar omnibus horror films, containing multiple shorts, often unrelated, with separate casts and actors.
In this case, we have three notable directors from east Asia: Japanese director Takashi Miike, Hong Kong director Fruit Chan, and South Korean director Chan-wook Park. Each presents their own short visions of horror, although perhaps it's more appropriate to say that although these are horror movies, they are more disturbing than outright frightening.
The first short, entitled Box, by Takashi Miike, relates the story of a young writer who is having some difficulty distinguishing between her dreams and reality. It's the most supernaturally oriented of the three films and the most ambiguous. There are no particularly outright scare moments, but the ambiguity of the story and the elements of the story are why the short can be a little disturbing. Primarily contemplative in nature, it's ambiguity also serves as its foil, as it's hard to draw anything more from the short than simple emotion and a sense of confusion.
The second short, entitled Dumplings, by Fruit Chan, is undoubtedly the most disturbing of the three. The film actually deals with some particularly relevant issues, particularly the things that we do to be considered attractive and to return to former glory, but the means by which the film makes such a commentary is very unpleasant. I'd have to say that it's a pretty effective film, but certainly not enjoyable. I've discovered that a longer 90+ minute version of this film exists as well and it'd be interesting to do a study comparing the two--if I could ever handle watching it again.
The final short, entitled Cut, by Chan-wook Park, is the the most lively and comical of the works. Wrapped in a maniacal revenge story is a comment about the nature of evil, in particular, the reasons for which evil is committed. It's certainly the most glossy of the films, utilizing CGI effects, an elaborate set and dynamic camera-work. The short is weakened by the ending, which doesn't appear to be prompted or meaningful, and we can only guess at the reasons for which the ending occurred the way it did.
All in all, the three shorts are fairly effective works and compose a whole by their disturbing nature. There is nothing particularly compelling, also Dumplings does make a particularly strong effort and Cut is particularly vibrant, if a little shallow. Either way, if you're looking to see three notable east Asian directors give their disturbing short takes on horror, this is almost as good a place as any to see it. 7/10.
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