Three Extremes (2004) - Takashi Miike, Fruit Chan, Park Chan-Wook
Well although only one story was directed by Miike, this film certainly has cult status. In fact all films in the horror genre have a cult status. This is one of the most successful (creatively) omnibus films I have seen. The stories remain interesting, and although Fruit Chan's "Dumplings" doesn't quite measure up, the beginning and end of this film more than makes up for it.
Miike gets the ball rolling, and like his other films, it is completely different. Say what you will about him, he's certainly versatile. His is without a doubt the creepiest of the stories, because nothing creeps me out more than little children, except maybe clowns, but that's another story. Miike shoots his story almost as a silent film. The dialogue is extremely sparse, and the first ten minutes of it are completely silent. He manages to shift times effectively, allowing just enough foreshadowing, and the proper backstory to come through. It begins in the future, goes to the present, winds up in the past, and finally gets back to the beginning again. It is all done with a highly hypnotic power as all well crafted films with a deliberate pace should be.
Chan's story I've mentioned as being the weakest link, which might not mean it's bad. It has Christopher Doyle as a DP, so how bad could it be? It is a little unsettling at parts, the abortion will attest to that, and well the dumpings themselves are their own source of disgust. I do however believe that the film has no general horror appeal. It is more of a blood bath than anything creepy, or even frightening.
Wook's film is the golden egg of the bunch. Like a brilliantly exectuted Tales From the Crypt story, what Miike's film lacks in dialogue, this more than makes up for it. It is almost all talking, and has lots of those morality plays. It is the most thought provoking of the bunch, and gets to be somewhat confusing, as they all do in their little ways. I was enthralled with this, and Wook sets it up brilliantly. Allowing more to be revealled as time progresses. I loved how it started as a tale of a vampire, but we saw through a backwards tracking shot that it was a movie set, but how that same opening shot got replayed near the end. This is the best of the bunch, and sadly I've still not seen Old Boy, but if this what Wook's work is like, then I most certainly am looking forward to it (even more than normal).
Can't say the film is perfect, but Miike and and Wook are absolutely phenomenal for this outing.