The Merits of Sin: Exte: Hair Extensions (2007) (Japan)

Leaning too far into insanity can be a crutch for a lot of movies. It can still make for good cinema but sometimes a balance is completely necessary to connect a viewers feet with solid ground. The idea of malevolent hair is a ridiculous concept but the fact that it’s grounded by a completely believable drama makes for a far more satisfying experience. So come for the homicidal hair but stay for the touching story of a little girl learning to trust and her new parental figure trying to figure out the responsibilities that come with being an adult.

…but it’s mostly about killer hair

Customs agents open up a smelly container and find it filled with hair. They’re informed that it’s all going to be used for the popular hair extensions flooding the market. The shaved corpse, on the other hand, is not supposed to be in there. The body is brought to the morgue and discoverd to be filled with hair. This would be disgusting all by itself but there’s also an employee who has a bit of a hair fetish and he falls hard for the dead body. Taking it home, he’s ecstatic to find the thing just keeps growing hair. Different strokes for different folks I guess.

Whatever, man

Yuko (Kill Bill‘s Chiaki Kuriyama) wants nothing else but to be a hair stylist. She’s working at a popular salon but is mostly doing cleanup and making sure the stylists are happy. She’s enthusiastic about where her life is at but she has a problem. Her half sister Kiyomi is a deliciously awful human being. She leaves her daughter at Yuko’s small apartment she shares with a bubbly dancer so she can go party with her sleazy boyfriend. Yuko doesn’t want to take care of a kid but is too kindhearted to throw the child out. When she finds that her niece is covered in bruises she stands up to her sis. Kiyomi doesn’t like that but seeing the chance to party more, she fucks off and let’s Yuko watch the child… at least for a little bit. Mami has a hard time trusting her new guardian thanks to the years of abuse and is in constant fear of being hit. So times are not easy.

Yuko has some growing up to do

Meanwhile, two detectives are running around trying to figure out where the corpse from the shipping yard has gone but their plate is about to get fuller when the morgue worker starts selling the hair he’s been cutting from the corpse he brought home. Ya see, that corpse used to be a young woman who some organ traders got their hands on and the horrific final hours of her life have somehow been imprinted on the hair still being rapidly produced by her body. The extensions, when worn, offer flashes of the torture and have the pesky habit of turning the wearer homicidal in some cases but it most cases it just flat out kills the poor person. Yeah. Things are fucked.

Hair today gone tomorrow…sorry

Creepy morgue guy takes notice of Mami and her aunt Yuko. He then brings more hair extensions to the salon where Yuko works… and then the shit hits the fan. Nasty deaths pile up and hair shoots out of cuts and eyeballs and even slashes people to death. Eventually Yuko realizes that all the onslaught is being done by the lethal hair but the realization comes a little too late…she has just given Mami a haircut to boost her self esteem and she used a fatal extension.

Stop that hair!

The insane premise gets plenty of traction thanks to a cast willing to role with it. Yuko and Mami exist purely in the real world and it helps level out the loony shenanigans of Ren Ohsugi’s hilarious hair obsessed deviant. Unfortunately the detectives are a bit undeveloped but they’re not really hanging around enough to make it a huge a problem. The central focus is Yuko and Mami’s relationship and it’s dealt with expertly. Surprisingly heartwarming in a film that involves people throwing up pounds of hair. There’s some shaky cgi but, again, everything else is firing on all cylinders and it really doesn’t distract that much. 8/10

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