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  • "Body Bags", a rather weak early 90's horror anthology promoted by John Carpenter, featured one segment with Stacy Keach replacing his balding head with a murderous hairdo. The little story was unbelievably stupid because human hair simply isn't the least bit scary. Sion Sono ("Suicide Club") also clearly realizes the concept of killing hair is goofy, but somehow his natural sense of creativity and knowledgeable approach of the genre resulted in a very entertaining horror/parody film. During his introduction of the movie – at the Belgium Horror Festival – Sion Sono vividly explained how he found his inspiration in observing young Japanese schoolgirls and their fascination for random and silly fashion trends. According to Sion Sono, the idea of braiding someone's real hair into your own without knowing exactly what happened to this person could lead to a terrifically tense horror formula. The person could be cursed, brutally murdered or be a psychopathic serial killer for all you know! Would you want to wear his/her hair in yours? Interesting idea, indeed, but it definitely raises a few plotting issues. How do you use ordinary human hair as an instrument of murder, for example, and how do you continuously maintain the link with the hair's original "carrier". Well, for all these questions – and many more – Sono came up with answers that balance perfectly between supernatural horror and plainly absurd comedy.

    Custom agents discover the body of a dead girl whose eyes and organs were surgically removed, presumably by the organ mafia. Out of pure and furious anger, her restless spirit still causes the body hair to grow fast and in enormous proportions. The totally demented coroner sees a profitable business and starts selling the girl's hair to salons. Needless to say the extensions promptly take control over the victims, hair starts growing from all bodily openings and the fashionable girls die a very painful death. Most of the horrors take place inside the Gilles de Rais salon, where the ambitious Yuko struggles with work pressure as well as private problems. "Hair Extensions" is a wonderfully odd but original mixture of horror styles and – strangely enough – the contradictory themes never really collide with each other. The movie is successively scary, comical, gory, downright absurd and scary again and, as a viewer, you simply go with the flow. Still, the absolute greatest aspects in "Hair Extensions" – even greater than the unique sense of humor - are the literally stunning and fabulous make-up effects and imaginative visuals. The multiple images of eerie black hair growing out of eye sockets and infected cutting wounds are quite icky and the absolute highlight of the movie shows a girl's hair pinning itself like a spider's web onto the ceiling. Sion Sono clearly dedicated a lot of time and effort to his character drawings. Yuko, her obnoxious sister Kiyomi and her little niece Mami are properly elaborated characters and Gunji – the deranged coroner – is the most fascinatingly eccentric freak I've ever seen in an Asian horror movie. The lovely lead actress Chiaki Kuriyama continues her unstoppable series of success roles, as avid genre fanatics will definitely recognize her from highlights like "Battle Royale" and "Kill Bill".
  • I have to say that i had to laugh when i first read a brief summary, which only focused on the hair-horror part. "Killing hair?! what the .. ?!", i thought. But after seeing "Suicide Circle" and "Strange Circus" i knew that there has to be way more than this ridiculous story.

    "Exte" is obviously a parody! But there seems to be an awful lot of people who expected something like the grudge or the ring and are now pretty disappointed. Well, the scenario is pretty cliché and the ending was pretty gruff; nothing has been really explained at that point. Well, there are a lot of indicators which show directly towards parody! ;) At the very beginning for example: all these ultra-cliché dialog which was narrated in an obscure way in third person; the hair-salon which was named after a french serial killer (had to look that up); etc ...

    BUT!! This film is still pretty scary ... and i don't mean only the hair, which .. was also scary (yeah, i was kinda scared ;) Human were the most scary/pitiful part here: The girl who was abducted and then used as a source for organs; The mother who abuses her child incessantly; then the child itself, of course; the hair-otaku, a real pitiful psycho; the main character (kuriyama) who carries a heavy burden of the past; all these people who don't care at all where this hair is coming from; just focusing on their beauty .. and all these other side-characters who might also have some sort of a problem.

    Well, why then the hair-horror-part? Isn't abuse horror enough? ... you might ask. Well, i was wondering myself a bit ;) I mean .. from my perspective it worked out pretty well! .. anxiety, fear, panic, anger, frustration and in the end some sort of relief. It was there! Maybe because the hair-horror part made it easier to grasp the part about abuse etc. In my opinion "Exte" is some sort of an homage and at the same time a critique, that most horror flicks tend to be very superficial and are not trying to imply more than pure scare; some thought-provoking stuff; for example abuse .. ? ;)

    Anyway: Cast was great!! Especially Osugi was really amazing! Art/direction was also a real feat! The Soundtrack wasn't that impressive but however the sound-design was stunningly good!

    All in all an amazing film! Especially for J-horror fans with a little bit of humor and for those who have an interest in social relevant topics.

    Too bad that so many people have been irritated by it .. ;)
  • crossbow010625 October 2008
    This horror film is about cursed hair, that anyone who wears the hair extensions has something very bad happen to them. The hair is cursed because the women who had it were victims of organ harvesting. A morgue attendant brings a corpse which still grows hair and sells/gives the extensions. This is where the other part of the film comes in. Hair stylist apprentice Yuko (the pretty Chiaki Kuriyama) lives in a small apartment with a roommate Yuki. She also takes in her niece Mami (a very young girl played effectively by Miki Sato) who is suffering from abuse at the hands of Yuko's evil half sister. I like the way the film lives in two worlds and comes together. The special effects are pretty good and while there is violence there is little gore. This is a horror film with good production values and Ms. Kuriyama plays Yuko very well, very likable and sensible. If you like horror, especially J horror, you will like this film. While horror is not my favorite genre, I enjoyed this, it moved along well, never dragged and you care about Yuko and Mami. Thats enough of a ringing endorsement, and the film succeeds on many levels.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    *mild spoilers I just saw this movie at Fantasia tonight and since there is no review yet, here's a first.

    This movie will definitely please Sion Siono's fans. It's more lighthearted and not as disturbing as Strange Circus. The plot is in the B horror movie tradition and centers around a dead girl's cursed hair. But there's also the parallel storyline of hairdresser Yuko and the cute Mami-chan.

    This movie doesn't take itself literally and that's an understatement. Siono knows his audience very well and incorporates many gags that will certainly please j-horror fans. Ren Osugi's acting is theatrical and completely outrageous. He delivers a crazy and fascinating performance. It also doesn't hurt that the production values are very high. A must see for fans of the burlesque and horrible.
  • Onderhond17 October 2008
    Ever since the wave of Asian suspense films started in the late 90s, the horror genre regained its mainstream popularity. The Asian market spawned an overload of long-haired ghosts, the European market followed with some fine gorefests and nail-biters and across the ocean, Saw conquered the theaters and kick-started a whole circus of remakes, rip-offs and sequels. In short, horror is hot again.

    In between all this genre work are still a few films that dare to be different, coming from directors that are more interested in the genre itself than the hype surrounding it. From the beginning, Sion Sono was a director who failed to fit the specific horror mold. Even though his first fan favorite, Suicide Circle, was marketed alongside films as Ringu and Ju-On, he never quite fitted in with the typical J-Horror wave. Apart from the social themes found in his films, it's the general weirdness that separates him from the generic horror template. With Ekusute, his latest effort, he's back to take revenge.

    Ekusute is a film about hair. Long, dark, mysterious, Asian hair. One of the most commonly used elements in the Asian suspense wave. Needless to say, the storyline is as crazy as it is fun. When a girl is tortured and murdered for her organs, they also cut off her hair. Obviously, the hair doesn't agree and starts to grow back from her dead body. A local morgue attendant with an extreme fixation for hair finds out and takes her home with him. He starts using her hair for a hair extension business he's been running on the side, at which point the hair extensions go on a murdering rampage. Hell yeah! To make things "worse", Sono contacted Ren Osugi to play the part of the perverted hippie hair fetishist. I still remember the first time I watched Osugi in Hana-bi and Sonatine. Back then I figured he was a normal actor playing an uncharacteristically strange role. We are now several years later, and I know better. Osugi might look like a normal, older guy, in reality he is one of Japan's most insane actors, taking on whatever perverted, quirky and twisted role he can find. He goes completely over the top in Ekusute, giving the film its final nudge into insanity.

    Ekusute is for the biggest part a parody on Asian horror flicks, playing around with a bunch of clichés and plot points. The whole hairy background story is crazy, Osugi's performance completely off the charts. Sono manages to be quite creative with the elements at hand, coming up with some interesting death scenes and original plays. But beside all the madness, the film works on another level. Sono integrates a side story about a tormented little kid which gives the film some extra grit and depth. It's the mix of all these elements that makes Ekusute quite dark and unique.

    Visually, the film is quite unstable, with rather plain visuals in its dramatic moments. But whenever Sono plays the horror (or freak) card the visuals become top notch. The scenes in Osugi's room are marvelous, making excellent use of lighting and hair effects to create shots that linger on the eyes. In between scenes Sono even tries some Tsukamoto-like magic, with rapid-fire editing of images filled with hair and accompanied by distorted sounds. As a whole, the film is visually pleasing, though it would've been nicer if it had been a little more consistent in its style.

    The film remains a strange mix of elements. In the beginning it looks like a simple parody on the J-Horror genre, but after a while other elements creep in which make the film more disturbing than it should have been on first sight. It never plays on scares, but still manages to become a dark and brooding film, topped with some craziness and surreal moments (mostly those with Osugi). It's a bit hard to recommend, as Sono's characteristic blend is rather unique and contains many tricks that might put people off. Still, I enjoy his films as they always succeed in bringing something new to the table.

    Ekusute might feel like his most commercial film to date, but that is mostly a disguise. It's a fun, crazy and surprisingly eerie film. 4*/5*
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Possessed body parts are nothing new to the film horror genre. There have been a number of movies about cursed eyes (The Eye), demonic hands (Idle Hands, The Hand), sinister facial grafts (Tanin No Kao), reanimated human tissue (Re-Animator) and haunted arms (Body Parts) but none have been stranger than Sono Sion's latest creepy thriller "Exte" which has to be a first in the annals of movie horror with its subject matter - cursed hair.

    Starring Kuriyama Chiaki (she of the big nose and "Olive Oyl" lanky figure), the movie is a bizarre tale of a vengeful spirit of a young girl, who was the victim of illegal organ harvesting, left to die but only to have her restless spirit manifest itself as living "demonic" hair which would possess its victims (by entering into their body) and manipulate the host's own hair follicles to often deadly effects (rapid growth which would result in strangulation and suffocation).

    While the plot may sound utterly ridiculous, "Exte" is a surprisingly effective horror film with several moments of genuine terror.

    Kuriyama plays Mizushima Yuko, a fledgling beautician in a small coastal Japanese town. She is training with a local stylist(Yamamoto Mirai) at a beauty salon called "Gilles de Rais" (odd that a salon would be named after a French aristocratic serial killer and murder of children).

    Her world would soon be turned upside down by the sudden appearance of her young niece, Mami (Sato Miku) who is the daughter of her older sister Kiyomi (Tsugumi). Mami has been abandoned by her witch of a mother and now Yuko and her roommate Yuki (Sato Megumi) must care for her. They will soon discover that she has also been severely abused by Kiyomi, to the point that Mami is emotionally and psychologically scarred.

    As Yuko tries to deal with this personal problem. A gruesome discovery is made at one of the local shipping docks. A dead body of a young girl is found in a shipping container filled with human hair. Upon further examination, the body is discovered to be filled with human hair. A hair fetish "Otaku" Yamazaki Gunji (Osugi Ren) who happens to work in the morgue, steals the body and soon realizes that this body can rapidly grown hair not only from the head but also from various open orifices (the mouth, eyes, ears, open cuts). He soon decides (or rather is compelled) to sell this special hair to the local hair salons as "exte" (hair extensions).

    Unfortunately, these "exte" have a life of their own and soon possess and kill the women that the hair is attached to. Yamazaki is also driven crazy by the haunted hair and soon seeks out other victims with beautiful hair, with Yuko and Mami being such women. Yuko must not only protect Mami from Gunji but also from Kiyomi who has returned to take back Mami.

    The screenplay by Sono(Kimyo Na Circus, Noriko No Shokutaku) and Adachi Masaki (who served as Second Director on movies such as "Ju-On:The Grudge" and "Honogurai Mizu No Soko Kara) is a hopelessly contrived story but one that is done surprisingly well and with straight-faced seriousness. It is amazing how creepy some of the SFX effects work with the hair and albeit there are some scenes which border on the absurd and cartoonish the overall horror effects are shocking.

    One nagging plot point however is never really explained. We never really know who the young girl is in the container and while there are flashbacks of her ordeal before her death, Sono refuses to give us any details of her life or explanations as to how she is able to reanimate and control her body hair. It's an irritatingly MacGuffin contrivance but one that doesn't really kill the entertainment value of the film.

    Kuriyama plays her part well and is quite good as Yuko. Child actress Sato Miku is definitely the standout with her portrayal of the abused Mami. While Osugi's manic and over-the-top villainy as Yamazaki is pure camp, the real chilling performance is Tsugumi's "mother from hell" Kiyomi. She is the true monster in this movie and her "Mommy Dearest" abusiveness to Mami will definitely spark much hatred for her character.

    J-Dorama fans will recognize a lot of familiar faces in this Toei movie with Natsuo Yuna, Ebisu Yoshikazu, Sakuma Mayu all having small parts/cameos in the movie.

    "Exte" is nowhere near as good as "Juon", "Ring" or other seminal supernatural J-Horror films of late but is still an effective thriller. Despite the hopelessly unbelievable plot, sometimes cartoonish special effects, and Osugi's tongue-in-cheek performance, the film somehow works.
  • Hair Extensions works much better than expected. I mean, seriously, how much horror can one expect to come out of something as simple as hair? But the hair in this film is possessed, you see. It comes out through parts of the body once it attach's itself inside the host body: the person gets hair through fingernails, shooting up like weeds in a garden, through eyeballs, through a mouth, everywhere. And in this film, one of Sion Sono's better works for mainstream consumption, it's real success comes that it's not simply about a maniac guy who uses demon hair to kill people (he also sells hair extensions that have the roots that have Grudge-type problems, yes hair can remember). No, it's also a domestic drama involving a woman who works at a salon (the adorable Chiaki Kuriyama) whose sister is an abusive B-word to her daughter, who is traumatized for life at the age of four.

    For a little while (maybe the first 45 minutes) it's a wonder how these two stories, one with these people being killed by hair and this wacky guy in his home made out of hair-locks (and of course it's all lit in darks and greens), and the other with the salon girls and the drama with the sister and the daughter, will intersect. Once it does, the movie gears into being totally absorbing, and Sono is very creative with how he stages his horror set pieces. There aren't *that* many kills, at least not as many as one might expect from the director of Suicide Club. It's more about staging a setting and place, how it's lit, how the person in the shot moves about. It's not about jump scares, and it's not about some of the simpler modes that sometimes happen in "grudge" movies. In this film, a seemingly dead body can still f*** with the living.

    The acting is also quite good, which is important as a lot of the film's drama rests on the sister and daughter and how Chiaki's character has to try hard just to reach out to the little girl (even more difficult after a particularly traumatic scene she sees, which we wisely only see some of before the big reveal). It's gory, which is to be expected, but I was amazed by the suspense that Sono was able to draw out of scenes, even in the climax which veers into over-the-top territory with its antagonist. Oh, and the movie is surprisingly funny to boot, mostly involving a cat who suddenly appears in scenes posed next to a statue outside at night (or just, you know, around), or how the villain sidles his way into the salon with his precious hair extensions. Only one moment that should be painfully obvious to anyone but isn't seen by the protagonist makes on do a face palm. The rest of the film is fun, effective and leaves an impression as art merged with genre.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Being a Lovecraft fan I was hoping of finding a movie interpretation of his story Medusas's Coil.

    While the movie starts great (some people mistake the personal game for a comical breaking of the 4-th wall), the mystery behind the hair is explained pretty quickly.

    But... It ain't Lovecraft.

    I would love to have seen some cosmic horror creep into the unlikeliest of places. But when you get over the fact, that people need explanations for EVERYTHING nowadays, you can start enjoying what is presented.

    It's a great mix of multiple personal dramas and a non typical ghost vengeance story with great acting (even the over the top ones) and good production values.

    If you like a tad more unconventional J-Horror, you'll feel right at home.
  • A film about killer hair extensions sounds ridiculous, and it is – but in a good way. EXTE comes across as a semi-serious spoof on the whole 'long haired' ghost sub-genre so beloved of Japanese cinema in the last fifteen years or so. At the same time, it stands alone and works as such a film in itself; there are plenty of moments that blur the line between weird and creepy and just plain surreal. To put it plainly, it's a film the likes of which I've never quite seen before.

    The film kicks off with a cargo container being opened with the discovery that it's packed full of human hair – as well as a woman's corpse. A strange discovery, but the movie just gets stranger from there. The corpse is stolen by a fetishist who then goes on to sell the still-growing hair to various hairdressers, one of which is the 'Gilles de Rais' salon (named after a French serial killer). The heroine of the film is a hairdresser played by KILL BILL: VOLUME 1's Chiaki Kuriyama who must contend with an unloved child, an abusive sister and various job woes as well as this supernatural curse.

    The plot is an excuse for a number of scenes in which the possessed hair goes about killing people. It seems to do this from the inside out; instead of bodies splitting open and blood coming out, hair comes out instead. The special effects are well achieved and the film as a whole has an offbeat tone that makes it highly enjoyable and a real breath of fresh air after the latest overly-familiar ghost story. The willingness to laugh at itself is the icing on a very bizarre cake.
  • Now, doesn't the premise of this movie sounds just awesome and interesting? A movie in which hair extensions attack and kill those that wear them, how could this movie not be awesome? Well, for one because it picks a totally strange and wrong approach to its subject.

    The movie is a horror but only with its main premise. The movie itself picks a more dramatic approach, while the horror moments are mostly being comical and over-the-top ones. It's such a weird mixture of different genres, that doesn't quite work out that great or ever becomes very interesting to watch.

    At first I actually thought this was going to be a parody of the Japanese horror genre but then suddenly it started to take a very serious and more straightforward approach with all of its dramatic story elements. I just don't know how to take this movie and I wonder if the film-makers themselves knew what direction they were going for.

    Because the movie is mostly being a drama, it also means that it has a slow pace and buildup to it. Nothing wrong with that, as long as there is something good or interesting going on in the story as well. And that really isn't always the case in this movie. As a matter of fact, even though this is a well under 2 hours short movie, it still feels like a much longer one.

    I feel that the movie could had truly benefited more from its horror. It should had done more with it, since it actually was the horror that still made this movie somewhat worthwhile. Yes, it has a ridicules concept but that's why it also works and becomes an original and interesting one with its horror. Also the effects looked pretty decent and some more killings or gore could had really spiced up things for this movie. The potential and possibilities were all there but the movie never really fully uses any it.

    A strange mixture of far too many genres. It's not all that bad but it still remains a just too big of a waste, of some fine potential.

  • A man with a hair fetish has been harvesting the locks of the recently deceased for his collection of award winning hair extensions. But things start to get weird when he takes the hair from the body of a woman that seems to be just continues to grow...and grow...and grow...

    So he begins lop off segments and give them to local hair salons as samples.

    He's not in it for the money...he just wants to see a world full of people with beautiful hair.

    However, something isn't right with this hair.

    Those who dawn it, become consumed by it...quite hair begins growing from every pore...orifice...internal organ...etc...until they're dead.

    And only someone who can truly understand the suffering that the hair woman went through- prior to her death- can break the curse.

    This film is some kind of weird. The special effects (a combination of traditional and cgi) have their moments. It is both humorous and disturbing. And the ending is patently ridiculous...but at least it's patently ridiculous fun.

    6 out of 10.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I found this film very entertaining. There were parts that were very emotional, and some parts that were really scary. The scares were very original. Most of the special effects were good though some were really bad. The scares were terrifying and very unique. The two most terrifying scenes being pulling the hair out from the eye and from the tongue, and the scene where the hair strangles the main character made me jump. This show was more touching than scary to me. Its a movie with tons and tons of hair. This movie is a bit slow at the beginning, but when it grabs you, it really does. This movie, like all other Sion Sono's films have a very great ending that makes people feel happy after watching the film. This movie has the happiest ending in comparison with Noriko's dinner table and also Suicide Club. Everything in this movie is clear unlike suicide club. This movie is entertaining in various ways. There were lots and lots of character development between the characters in the movie. The special effect where the hair attacks the main character and her sister was creepy and interesting. The effects just looked so real. The storyline was great and touching. However, there are still some flaws in this movie. This movie is relatively slow in the first ten to twenty minutes. This movie has some poor special effects as well. The effect where the man became an elf, to me was really bad. This movie has got so many entertaining scenes throughout the second half of the movie just concerning how the hair attacks people. Some of the scenes were just so creative and gross. The part where the girls hair stands up and sticks to the ceiling, than became bald, was just awesome. I like how this movie deals with themes such as "Love" and "Child abuse". The scary scenes mainly occur at night which was great. There are many memorable scenes and really gross scenes in this movie. Hair just comes out from anywhere and attacks people by tieing them up or strangling them. This movie is very original and I personally found it more interesting than shows such as Noriko's dinner table. However, this movie would be more effective if they reduce the comedy for this movie and make this movie scarier. Because the funny parts for this movie are not funny at all, they are just ridiculous. Other than that, this movie is emotional, scary, gross and very entertaining. Score:8/10
  • Scarecrow-8816 February 2009
    Warning: Spoilers
    Positively bizarre supernatural Japanese horror regarding killer hair extensions! A female corpse is found engulfed in hair, her organs removed by those black market surgeons, and becomes the immediate fixation of a nutty mortician who kidnaps her body taking it home with him. Enamoured with her hair, Gunji Yamazaki(Ren Osgui) begins furnishing salons "samples" with horrifying results. The film focuses on hair stylist Yuko Mizushima(Chiaki Kuriyama), a young apprentice in a salon whose cruel sister, Kiyomi(Tsugumi)drops in unannounced to cause disturbance, leaving behind an abused daughter, Mami(Miku Sato)while embarking in a relationship with a sleazy lover at night. Yuko and Mami form a bond as Kiyomi is away ruining her life, while the hair extensions used from the dead girl cause death to customers. The extensions carry the hostile feelings of the dead girl and those who happen to wear the hair are recipients of the vengeance she so desperately harbors. Soon Yamazaki will drop off samples at the salon for which Yuko works bringing the separate stories together. Also, Yamazaki, with an unhealthy obsession with hair, is drawn to Yuko and Mami and wishes to possess what they have..beautiful hair, of course. We also follow two detectives pursuing the one responsible for kidnapping the corpse and how their search will soon lead to Yuko and Yamazaki. Unsettling violence to human victims mainly displaying how hair bursts from body orifices and wounds, increasing in size as it flows out, often wrapping around arms and throats, out eye sockets, even bleeding when cut by scissors. The film really gets serious with Mami's neglect at the hands of a monstrous mother, whose presence yields nothing but anguish and misery. That bitch gets hers, though. Chiaki Kuriyama is a very likable lead with a wonderful smile that lights up the screen, and a pleasant disposition that is a direct opposite of her polarizing sister. The film grows darker and darker as Yamazaki becomes more and more unhinged, his home besieged by the corpses hair as it grows following fits of anger during violent acts towards victims. You just have to see this to believe it!
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Upon seeing this movie on the rental shelf, all shiny and brand new, I couldn't help but think, "Wow, that seems a little too 'J-horror' for Sion Sono. I hope this isn't really that bad." Apparently a lot of other reviewers on this site had the same initial doubt. For those of you who haven't been in tune with where those annoying girl-with-long-hair Hollywood remakes have been coming from, "J-horror" refers to a sort of sub-sub-genre of popularized Japanese horror movie usually about ghosts, hauntings, and attracting American audiences. No, seriously, the grand majority of the films dubbed "J-horror" are really not all that different from American horror films because they were inspired by American horror films. Many of them fall also under the "Asian Extreme" label that was practically invented by Tartan DVD, which is basically horror and action movies, only, hence the title, more extreme. Caution should be used when attempting to get into those movies, but there is some good stuff out there. Look for Sono, Takashi Miike, Chan Wook Park, and Shinya Tsukomoto.

    Anyway, Sion Sono is much more well-known for the epic "Suicide Club", a consistently dazzling and nearly impenetrable thriller that, like all good horror, comments painstakingly on the social situation its filmed in. Other movies like the follow up Noriko's Dinner Table and the metanarrative Strange Circus stamp Sono down as a director to pay attention to. A movie called "Hair Extensions" just doesn't seem like his thing--but it is. Or rather, he makes it his.

    This movie's plot is often described as being about a hair stylist having to fight against evil hair extensions that kill each other, but it's more like two different sensibilities ultimately clashing. The one sensibility is that very campy J-horror realm of a cursed corpse exacting revenge upon the world via hair that grows out of literally every wound and orifice, distributed by a strange fetishist who likes his fair share of silly disguises. The second aspect is the comedic-melodramatic story of young Yuko, stylist-in-training, who gets pulled out of her happy existence as a hopeful up-and-coming 20 something who likes quirks such as narrating aloud her own life when her abusive hipster sister drops off her (the sister's) little daughter Mami on Yuko's doorstep. Yuko is forced into fending for her new charge, who she quickly grows fond of, though she has to struggle against the young girl's altered perceptions of reality rended from being abused by her mother. Meanwhile, the strange hair fetishist and Yuko meet via the hair salon, people start dying, and bungling cops have no ability to understand what's actually going on. Eventually Yuko has to defend little Mami not only from an abusive mother but from violent, murderous hair. AND ITS AWESOME...

    Sono is one of those gifted filmmakers who can lead the audience through horror, tragedy, comedy, and melodrama at sudden and unexpected turns, never missing a beat. Some parts of "Hair Extensions" seem cheaper than others, but he's not afraid to let the ridiculous be ridiculous and the serious be affecting. This isn't exactly his greatest work, but some parts noticeably stand out. The scene where the sister and her lover come into contact (literally) with the hair extensions is one of the most shocking, disturbing, amazing, and hilarious--and sudden--scenes in cinema. Yuko's relationship with Mami is more than just a caring adult to a hurt child, it's complicated and Yuko doesn't always know how to handle herself. Weirdly enough, "Hair Extensions" is both the most absurd and most real of Sono's work, with a fully fleshed out and functioning world supporting some of the most random acts of carnage ever shot. Even if this movie doesn't appeal to you intellectually, it certainly has sensationalistic thrills. The funny thing is that the reverse is true, too.

  • I was expecting everything but what I got from this strange little movie. Its far from your typical Japanese "scary girl with long black hair moves in creepy way" movies. After the credits rolled I was more reminded of crazy stuff like "Organ" or some of the Miike movies. "Exte" already starts of like a romantic movie with an overly happy girl riding bike, talking about her life from off screen while some nice pictures float by. Then the movie is full with some rather crazy characters... her sister is a kind of gangster whore who beats her little daughter and steals the main characters stuff, there is a guy obsessed with hair who steals it from dead bodies in the morgue and then there is a girl who was harvested for organs and who can't rest because "her hair is raging". Obviously these are soon connected when crazy hair guy steals raging hair girls body and starts selling her hair to happy hair girl who works as a hairdresser. By then she took her sisters daughter from her rather demented mother to take care of her and things get weird.... guess what, with a lot of hair!!!

    The horror element is inserted with people who get infected by the angry girls hair and start growing hair from their eyes, wounds and about everywhere. While at first this works pretty well the effect is so blatantly overused that by the point it gets really annoying you suddenly realize that this movie is not to be taken serious by an inch. Especially in the end there are some unbelievably ridiculous scenes that really made me laugh and with some of the scary and creepy stuff (like the organ harvesting) the whole movie is pretty schizophrenic and weird, especially because the touching life story of a hairdresser is presented around the main character regularly in a TV soap opera fashion.

    Believe me, this movie is STRANGE!!! The mix of horror and gore (while here barely any blood is used but rather replaced with hair) and totally ridiculous slapstick elements reminds a lot of "Organ". So if you like this kind of movie and love Takashi Miikes way of mixing all kinds of genres into one strange movie you will surely like "Exte" too. To me its not much about average because none of the elements work for themselves and the whole thing seems a little disjointed. Anyway I had a laugh and some scenes and effects are really new to me. Be sure to watch the evil hair troll at the end in continuous repeat to wet your pants.
  • Really interesting film. Great story, interesting characters and a very different villain. I was curious as to how the film would turn out, assumed it would either be campy or gross out but actually turned out to be neither. Story was well paced, emotional and the actors were all enjoyable. Using something so mundane as the "monster" did make it quite hard to take the movie seriously at times and there's a few moments that I found very similar to Takashi Miikes style of absurdity, the film still came together and resulted in a really unique horror experience.
  • It's not your typical horror movie but it's surprisingly entertaining. It's a mix of genres but the campy villain, the good acting and the overall balanced structure makes it a very good watch.
  • I watched this for Sion Sono's birthday and I should treat myself on directors' birthdays more often, goddamn.

    Exte was easily my "most uncomfortable" watch of 2019. I've only watched one other film of Sono's, so I knew he was very good when it came to gore, but I didn't know what to expect from him when it came to ghosts and ghouls.

    Dear Christ, I will NEVER be getting hair extensions for the rest of my life.

    Before I go into it, do remember, this was 2007. The CGI and such are not going to be amazing and top of the line. Watch this as you'd have watched a film you were going to see in the cinema in 2007 for the best impression of this film.

    With a very unique plot - I for one, have never come across a horror film personally that has hair extensions as the main "evil" object. This has drawn me in for quite a while and it's not hard to see why this has become a very influential horror film. Starting off very serious and dark this film promises quite a lot at the start. This does fade after a little while and we become a bit more upbeat and a little more fun. I'm not faulting the film for this - it must be pretty hard to keep a film about hair extensions murdering people to a degree of seriousness - however, it really does pick up after a while.

    Once the spooky things start going down, we get uncomfortable scenes of body horror (I wouldn't really call them body gore, but either way) that made me feel a little queasy and very uneasy. I was rubbing at my eyes, picking my lips and trying my best not to pause the movie and leave it for a while and return to it.

    Sono creates such a stunning piece of art that is so uneasy and makes the viewer squirm. Although the plot doesn't seem to make much sense. There's two different plot lines going on at once - the investigation of the woman murdered and a secondary plot following Yuko - and I don't think that the investigation got much attention once it first switches to Yuko. Both plots do eventually overlap and come together, but I just don't think this was done as 100% as it could have been. Everything comes to a close well, but I did find myself wishing for JUST a little bit more from Sono to bring this up just one or two notches. (And that bloody song is gonna be stuck in my head all day...) The ending is pretty vague and more of a horror-comedy piece than a horror, but that's who Sion Sono is, so definitely a plus in this situation.

    This all said, I do very much love this film. It's spooky, it's unsettling, it has definitely made me a little uneasy at the idea of having hair extensions. The atmospheric creation of Sono is something that I truly appreciate. The 2000s of Japanese horror have a legacy for their moments of unease and Exte is no different. Truly unnerving, extremely uncomfortable and breath hitching, this film truly is one of the gold films of the 2000-2010 Japanese iconic ghost horrors. All of the cast were amazing (and I can't imagine some of these scenes were easy to record either), and it really helped develop the film further.

    Again, I will never be having hair extensions and secondly, I think I have a new found fear of hair in general. Some of these scenes were just too creepy.

    (My only qualm is... doesn't Yuko have to like legally adopt Mami... not just move her into her place?)
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Gathering up titles for a "Auteurs in 2007" viewing week, I decided that along with Miike, I'd also check to see if fellow Japanese film maker Sion Sono had any credits for the year. Having seen a number of J-Horror titles,I was thrilled to find that in 2007 Sono did a spoof of the Long-Haired Girl-style films! This led to me going for a hair extension.

    View on the film:

    Growing from the hair-raising start,co-writer/(with Masaki Adachi and Makoto Sanada) co-composer/ (with Tomoki Hasegawa) directing auteur Sion Sono & cinematographer Hiro'o Yanagida ingeniously spoof traditional J-Horror with a jet black comedic streak in the hair, which curls in old school piratical effects of hair slithering across the ground, paired with creepy CGI effects of the possessed hair wrapping itself round victims from within. Selling the soon to be murderous hair to a salon for use on extensions, Sono masterfully uses ultra-stylised close-ups gripping tension of death being pinned to the head of a future victim.

    Running fingers of light between his distinctive bizarre black hair horrors, Sono continues to build on his recurring motif of bright, primary colours in dark situations, with the hair salon Yuko is training at being washed in glowing colours that Sono stylishly pans through to the concern of Yuko on protecting her abused older sister's daughter Mami.

    Going against the grain of J-Horror by keeping the black-haired girl chillingly silent, the writers brilliantly pull the real hairs of horror from the psychological, rather than the supernatural, thanks to Sono continuing his theme of exploring those with a struggling mental state, by Yuko (delicately played by Chiaki Kuriyama) horrified by the marks of abuse on Mami, whilst also having to try and cut the extending hair of death.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    This was a fairly bizarre film. The cover of the box pretty much tells the whole story except for the ending. Hair grown from a murdered girl, apparently used for organ harvesting, is sold by a morgue worker for hair extensions. The hair has magical deadly powers as out beauticians fight for their lives.

    The film subject matter was unique and the special effects were good. Our "Kill Bill" girl is more of a cream puff in this film having to combat with a beautician's scissors instead of a mace.

    Not for everyone.

    Parental Guide: 1 F-bomb. Minor corpse nudity.
  • I loved the crazy performances here. I saw this movie many years ago and still remember how bizarre it was. The one scene that stuck with me was the hairdresser and her scissors... I am actually doing a search on Korean horror movies to watch at the moment and came across one called Wig/Scary Hair. (2005)..and the plot sounds very similar so I am guessing this Japanese one was inspired by the Korean one! If anyone has seen both, which one was done better?
  • I have a good time watching works like this. Films like these use visual, and symbolic codes specifically directed to a certain dark piece of audience, who is willing to live a life in films outside the most widespread conventions, and accept what comes with that. One of the thing i like the most when watching such a piece in a public venue (usually crowded with the hard fans of these kinds of productions) is to observe how those fans respond to certain conventions inside the 'genre'. To me, because i only make occasional visits, it's something equivalent to visiting a foreign country, i observe how people behave, what's mood of the place i'm visiting.

    Inside those alternative conventions, this is a good film, i suppose. At least it made it for me, to the point of wanting to know more work of this director. He has a vision, in the middle of this kind of capillary horror, he has an interesting concept which spreads clearly and embraces the film, as much as the hair embraces all the characters.

    Hair as open channels. Hair as an element to connect people, to connect lives, and past lives. And to share death. It's an effective narrative device. The dead hair growing girl works as a kind of noir agent, someone who controls the action, but we are the whole time inside the device (we had to be to make the whole thing credible, and also because it was important for the creators and for the genre to explore the one-eyed dead girl). She manipulates through hair, and has a human puppet who delivers hair, and makes the whole thing work. That silly man is her hands in the street, giving death randomly. That agent believes all the way that he controls her, but we come to understand it's the other way around.

    This clear storytelling strategy makes the film pleasant enough to me. It's a solid production work, the stop-motions were made with competence, and you will enjoy this if you like to explore interesting storytelling and if you're willing to accept, at least for 2 hours, the conventions of this corner in film universe (that if you're not already inside it).

    My opinion: 3/5
  • zetes7 October 2012
    Shion Sono is definitely one of the best current Japanese filmmakers. In this film, he takes a fairly banal J-horror set-up and produces something both horrific and beautiful. A morgue worker discovers a corpse that keeps growing hair. He steals it in order to harvest the hair, hoping to sell it to salons. Of course, the hair is murderous. Chiaki Kuriyama, best known as the teenage girl from the Crazy 88 gang in Kill Bill, Vol. 1, stars as a hair stylist who brings some of the extensions home. This would have been crap in most hands, but Sono is a master of suspense. There's also a lot of humor, although the villain of the picture gets to be perhaps a bit too silly in the climactic sequence.
  • This is the first movie I've seen with Chiaki Kuriyama playing the lead.

    Okay, how can all the hair appear the way they do ? The way they shows up is totally unbelievable. Then the Yamazaki character is also unbelievable. I didn't like the owner of the beauty salon at all either. She was totally selfish in that she indulged herself as the owner of the shop.

    This movie is a caricature of Japanese's propensity to be cruel to one another. The problem of "Ijime" (Treating others without mercy) is quite a phenomenon there, both in schools, and in society. This movie vividly depicts the society that has this nature at its core. Combined with above unbelievability, and also making jokes out of cruel situation makes it an awful combination.

    Everyone in this movie were so cold and selfish. I would have loved to see Kiyomi get her comeuppances.

    This movie really shows the bad side of Japan, like "Perawan" (Virgin) did for Indonesia.

    Recommended for viewing to see the bad side of another society.
  • Having watched Asian horror movies for some years now, the weird fetish with long hair is no surprise. But this movie, it was just a tad too much.

    The story is pretty stupid. A dead woman's hair keeps growing, and a lunatic guy keeps the body around and cuts the hair to use for hair extensions. He gives these extensions away to hair salons, and the hair kills people! What the... Hold it, back it up right here. Could it be any more stupid than this? Having seen lots and lots of Asian horror movies over the years, "Exte" takes the lead in having the most stupid and ridiculous storyline ever.

    As for the acting in the movie, well it was alright, although the movie suffered from a really bad dialogue. Looking aside from this, then the little girl, Miku Satô (playing Mami) was actually the one doing the best job in the movie. Most others were either over-doing it or suffered from horrendous dialogue to work with.

    There wasn't a single moment in the movie where I was scared or spooked, and truth be told, I almost dozed off at a point. The story takes forever to get you nowhere. And when the movie ends, you sit there with a very shallow feeling.

    If you like Asian horror movies, then there are far better ones out there. I decided to give "Exte" a try because it was labeled as Asian horror, but I was sorely disappointed. And I believe that even Asian people will not find this movie scary, because the usage of the hair and the sheer amount of it was just way too much. I managed to sit through the entire movie, and can honestly say that this DVD will be bagged and tagged, never to be seen again.
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