'Three . . . Extremes'

Bewilderingly titled and as ad hoc as any omnibus film, this pan-Asian, neo–Night Gallery trilogy of horror shorts is nevertheless a black-blooded hoot, even if the most notorious of its hallowed psychotronistes is outshined by a Hong Kong ringer. First comes Takashi Miike's Box, which begins on vintage J-horror footing and then detours into incest-and-psychopathy Miikeland; last comes Park Chanwook's Cut, which dallies yet again with an absurdly epic (and cruelly funny) revenge scenario, gathering an ironic credibility by making the gory scheme's victim a successful, much envied, Park-ish Korean film director besieged by an overlooked actor. Between them, Hong Kong indie-breakout Fruit Chan has offered up the unscary but hair-raising Dumplings, a Petit Guignol essay on food therapy and unwanted pregnancies that curls toes on every foot and may be the most viciously conceived piece of social satire the continent's seen since Tetsuo. Genre filmmakers can rarely keep their narratives airborne for 100 minutes these days, and though the two-to-three-reeler may be a lost art commercially, this sample platter's a bracing sign of the short form's vivaciousness and succinct pleasure.

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