Three Extremes is a collection of three shorts by directors Fruit Chan, Park Chan-wook and Takashi Miike. All three are absolutely excellent.
The first short, Dumplings by Fruit Chan is about a MILF-y asian woman who goes to a lady to eat her dumplings, which supposedly have anti-aging properties. I liked it right off the bat because while it was easy to tell what was going on, it was done well and I knew it was about to snowball and get gross quickly.
I was really surprised with the amount of depth and tone in this short, it really encapsulated vanity in it’s pure form. Just the details about smell and the subtleness of the leads body language in regards to how the dumplings were making her feel dealt out an ample amount of dread. There’s lots of graphic scenes which I can’t even really describe without ruing this but Chan doesn’t hold back with the practical effects.
It’s worth mentioning that an uncut version of Dumplings exists and I would have definitely loved to have seen that all played out more so I’ll be watching that at some point.
The second short Cut by Park Chan-wook seems to be the universal favorite among the three. I loved it as well, it’s raw and fast paced; almost a form of torture without deliberation which is alluded to in the first half of the short. Again, the premise of capturing someone and persuading them to do horrible things in fear of even worse consequences immediately felt familiar but fortunately that wasn’t the main focus here.
This short definitely benefits from the Donald Trump phenomenon in the sense that it’s the most talked about simply because in the end no one fucking understands it. The ending wasn’t obnoxious to me but it was most definitely ambiguous. Don’t let your stoned friend tell you “nahhh doood *coughs* you just don’t get it, it was evwfdbvkdbvahb”. There’s multiple scenarios and theories about how this short really ended so pick your favorite and enjoy.
Lastly we have Box by Takashi Miike, my personal favorite of the three shorts. For anyone who knows Miike’s style, it’s really no holds barred in terms of content and direction so this was most enjoyable for simply being unpredictable. I really felt uncomfortable when watching this, which I like to think is my adult version of being scared. I won’t bother with a synopsis since it won’t even help you with this one. It’s truly an emotional ride and another amazing original idea for a horror film.
My absolute favorite thing about Miike is his ability to craft a twisted story using artistic style but still seem to remain so humble in the process. Humbleness in horror movies for me has a lot to do with taking creative risks. I have a lot of respect for directors who build terror within negative space but even more so for the ones who aren’t afraid to ruin it all by actually showing us everything in all it’s gory beauty.