With the opening line “My nose hair is out of control” you just know that this is aiming for comedy and it succeeds thanks to a crazy performance from Ren Osugi.
When a shipping container full of human hair is opened a young woman’s body is discovered. Police are baffled by the case creepy but hair fetishist Gunji Yamazaki (Ren Osugi) sees it as a golden opportunity to steal the corpse and harvest hair. When examining the corpse he is delighted to discover that the hair grows in endless amounts and decides to use it to create hair extensions to sell to salons. Bad news emerges when he discovers that the hair is exacting the dead girl’s vengeance on anyone who comes into contact with it. Meanwhile apprentice hair-dresser Yuko Mizushima (Chiaki Kuriyama) is trying to earn a promotion at her salon but her personal life intrudes when her niece Mami (Miku Sato) is dumped on her doorstep by her abusive mother. Little does Yuko realise that Mami will be the least of her problems because Gunji will visit her salon with demon hair.
I’m tempted to call this post-modern horror comedy. Although Sion Sono plays the horror straight there is a feeling of knowingness to the proceedings which highlights the artificiality and lets you know that the writer and director are playing with the genre. It is in the way characters use over-explicit and descriptive dialogue to introduce characters and say that they are doing so out loud, the way the (awful) music and (clichéd) sound effects are inspired by other films like One Missed Call, the way that the bad characters are melodramatically bad and the way that characters are so superficial and can smile after a hilarious climax which should see them hate hair. The salon workers even work in a place bearing the name Gilles de Rais, Jean of Arc’s compatriot and the notorious child killer. All of this is amusing and it is anchored by three strong performances.