Looking for your late night fix at HIFF38? Check-out our EXTREME ASIA program, bringing you the best Asian horror, sci-fi, and action-thrillers of the year. A spin-off of the Festival’s Fantastic Asia program, this year’s Extreme Asia hones in on the ‘midnight movies’ genres our filmgoers love the most.
We’ve got horror fans covered with low-fi zombie comedy ONE CUT OF THE DEAD, which has become a sleeper theatrical hit in Japan and, guaranteed, one of the most fun theatrical experiences you will have, and Taiwanese ghost horror THE ROPE CURSE. While sci-fi lovers will delight with three fantastic films including alien invasion thriller YOCHO, sci-fi action-adventure INUYASHIKI, and Korean superpower mystery-thriller THE WITCH: PART 1. THE SUBVERSION. And last but not least, is the intense, over-the-top ultra-violent ‘Most Dangerous Game' set in the Cambodian jungles, THE PREY. Read on to find out the full dish on all these amazing genre films.
ONE CUT OF THE DEAD (Japan)
A cast of relative unknowns, a brilliantly disguised low budget and an epic, 37-minute opening single take makes Shinichirô Ueda's feature debut a bright, breezy and laugh-out-loud hilarious zombie comedy. A film crew is shooting a zombie horror flick in an abandoned water filtration plant, allegedly used for human experiments by the military. Just as the director browbeats his actors and demands more special effects blood, a real zombie apocalypse erupts, much to his auteur delight. The little film that could, it opened in one theater this past summer in Japan, built a cult following, and soon enough has become the sleeper hit of the year. Do not miss out and be ready to hoot and holler in the theater!
THE ROPE CURSE (Taiwan)
Local legend has it that when someone hangs themselves, an elaborate ceremony must be performed by a shaman, in order to dispel any curse left by the victim’s spirit. The ceremony is not to be viewed by anyone except the participants lest the curse spread. Seeking an easy way to increase their social media following, two young unsuspecting filmmakers travel to a small fishing village to live stream the mythical ceremony. Little do they know, this may hold dire consequences for all…As they unwittingly open the doorway to an angry spirit, they also become enmeshed in years-old mystery plaguing a group of students from a local high school. Will they solve the mystery in time, and once the spirit is unleashed will any of them live to tell the tale?
YOCHO (FOREBODING) (Japan)
From renowned director Kiyoshi Kurosawa (CURE, PULSE, TOKYO SONATA) comes the companion film to BEFORE WE VANISH (HIFF 2017), exploring a darker view of pending alien invasion. Alien scouts have arrived in Japan in the form of body-snatching invaders with a mission to steal the ‘concepts’ of humanity. Young Etsuko (Kaho) notices strange things happening all around; her colleague has lost her mind, and her husband (Shota Sometani) is under the spell of a strange new doctor (Masahiro Higashide) at his work. All of this seems to portend impending doom, but she can’t quite put her finger on what is happening. As the mystery of these concept-stealing aliens unfolds, Etsuko finds that she is the only one who can resist their powers. With this power of her own, she strikes out to save herself and her husband, if not all of humanity! Reminiscent of Kurosawa’s classic early suspense-filled, supernatural, and super-eerie films, YOCHO is edge-of-your-seat creepy fun!
Utterly forgettable salaryman Inuyashiki (Noritake Kinashi, INITIATION LOVE) gets no respect from his colleagues or his family. While lamenting his sad life on a park bench that night, he is suddenly struck down by a strange bright light. When he awakes on the ground and stumbles home, he bizarrely discovers that something has transformed his body into a machine with superhuman powers, including the power to heal. However, simultaneously in the park that night Shishigami (Takeru Satoh, RUROUNI KENSHIN, BAKUMAN), a high-school student, appears to have undergone the same transformation, except that Shishigami’s powers seem to be destructive... One of the biggest blockbusters of the year in Japan, and based on the hit manga of the same name, INUYASHIKI is one of the most unique, fun, and exciting sci-fi manga adaptations in recent years. Hold on to your seats and enjoy the ride!
THE WITCH: PART 1. THE SUBVERSION (South Korea)
In rural South Korea, a young girl flees a government facility, landing bleeding and muddy at a local farmhouse. 10 years later a now teenage Ja-yoon has no recollection of her past, and knows only the elderly couple who have taken her is as her parents. But soon Ja-yoon discovers that she has some incredible talents, she is so talented in fact that she lands on national television. However shortly after her appearance, ominous figures show up, threatening to turn her peaceful life upside down. One of the most exciting, suspenseful and unique science-fiction thrillers in years, and featuring an incredible performance by newcomer Kim Da-mi (MARIONETTE) as Ja-yoon, THE WITCH is a must-see for genre fans that will leave you on the edge of your seat waiting for PART 2!
THE PREY (Cambodia)
Hunting human beings for sport has been a fixture of exploitation cinema since THE MOST DANGEROUS GAME in 1932. However, the latest crime caper from the insanely prolific Jimmy Henderson – who brought us the equally badass JAILBREAK – gives this genre staple a barrel-kick to the guts. Chinese undercover cop Xin (Gu Shang Wei) is arrested during a raid on a gang he infiltrated, but handles himself well in prison. Unfortunately, he has been targeted by the corrupt prison warden (ONLY GOD FORGIVES’ Vithaya Pansringarm), who is in the business of inviting rich businessmen on human hunting expeditions in a nearby forest. In the meantime, the Chinese government has picked up on Xin’s trail, having found a signal from his GPS device. When the two teams unexpectedly converge, it’s just the beginning of a battle for survival.It’s kill or be killed in THE PREY, a relentless, no holds barred action film that showcases the rising Cambodian film industry.