Three Extremes 2
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Ladies and Gentlemen, I have an confession to make. I like Horror Film Anthologies. Why? For some reason I find that often horror segments work better in the 45 minute-1 hour range than the 1 ½ hour-two hour range. I was psyched when I heard about “Three Extremes”, but as fate often works, I have yet to see the it, but I was able to give “Three Extremes 2” a spin today, and it proved to not be a disappointment. Though it carries a 2 in the title, this release was actually released before “Three Extremes” in its Japanese under the title “Three”, with “Three Extremes” being its sequel.
As the name implies, there are 3 short films on this Disc. All of them clock in at a little over 40 minutes, and they are all pretty solid quality. First we have “Memories“, Directed by Kim Jee-Woon (A Tale of Two Sisters). This is the one mood piece of the movie. It is a story about a husband waking up with a mild case of amnesia, he is unable to recall what took place over the last few days, meaning he doesn’t know where his wife is, and why she has left him. Meanwhile, across town, his wife is waking up on a street unable to remember who or where she is, with only a phone number in her pocket. Over the next 40 minutes, we are treated to the pretty creepy but slow paced puzzle as it is being put together.
With the word “Extreme” in the title you may be expecting something pretty gory, but “Memories” is the only one of these shorts to contain any gore, and even then it is nothing to incredibly graphic. The movie is heavy on atmosphere, disturbing scenes, and was able to gave me a couple of good jumps. The acting is solid, but the story seems a tad tired. Overall, this one seemed the most familiar with me, with the movies plotline being predictable, and with the slow pacing that many Asian movies have. Thanks to the slick direction and good atmosphere, I can give this one 3 ½ Cans. Despite my problems with it, it still manages to be pretty good, but not all that memorable.
Second we have “The Wheel” which is an tale of beautiful puppets that carry a curse on those who own them. After attempting to sink his accursed puppets in a lake, a puppet master loses his Son, and Wife, and soon dies himself in a fire. Though many of his fellow performers believe that the curse is real, one stubborn man counts their beliefs as only superstition, and retrieves the puppets from the lake. He soon finds out that the curse is very real.
This one was a nice break from the typical slow pace of Asian films. It moves pretty quickly, and manages to be creepy in its own way. Its direction is the weakest of the three tales, but it is still far from bad. The story itself manages to separate itself from most other Asian horror; sadly it isn’t all that intriguing either. It was entertaining, but not memorable. Worth a watch, but nothing earth shattering either. 3 Cans.
Last we have “Going Home”, directed by Peter Ho-Sun Chan (The Eye). While searching for his missing son, in a nearly abandoned part of town, a father ends up being held captive by his next door neighbor. The neighbor also happens to be keeping his dead wife in his apartment, preserving her with Chinese herbs. The neighbor believes that in three days, his wife will wake from death.
Whereas “Memories” and “The Wheel” where decent but not great, “Going Home” hits it out of the ballpark. First off, “Going Home” is a weird horror tale, not a scary one. In fact, “Going Home” is really a beautifully filmed tragic love story, rather than a tale filled with insanity. All of the acting in this segment is top notch. As the story progresses, you really grow to feel for its characters. Both the desperate father, and the bizarre neighbor prove to be very sympathetic. The neighborhood in which this one takes place manages to seem both incredibly creepy, yet sad due to its near empty nature. This story moves at a good pace concluding with an excellent, and heartbreaking ending that packs an emotional punch. Though it is not scary, this one is bound to haunt its viewer for a while after experiencing it. I would give “Going Home” 4 ½ Cans.
Overall, “Three Extremes 2” is 2 parts decent, 1 part excellent. Fans of weird horror and Asian cinema should definitely give it a watch, if only for “Going Home”. If you are expecting gratuitous gore, you will be disappointed, but if you are looking for a good way to spend two hours, give this disc a spin. Overall I would give it 4 Cans.
*A Small note about the Amazon link, this is the link for “Three Extremes 2” yet much of the info on the page is for “Three Extremes”, hopefully they will fix their information soon.
Added: Sunday, April 23, 2006
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