Three... Extremes

Last updated
Three... Extremes
Three... Extremes film.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Fruit Chan
Park Chan-wook
Takashi Miike
Written byDumplings:
Lilian Lee
Park Chan-wook
Bun Saikou
Haruko Fukushima
Produced byAhn Soo-hyun
Peter Ho-sun Chan
Fumio Inoue
Naoki Sato
Shun Shimizu
Starring Bai Ling
Tony Leung Ka-fai
Lee Byung-hun
Im Won-hee
Kyōko Hasegawa
Atsuro Watabe
Cinematography Chung Chung-hoon
Christopher Doyle
Koichi Kawakami
Music by Chan Kwong-wing
Kōji Endō
Peach Present
Release date
  • October 28, 2005 (2005-10-28)
Running time
125 minutes
CountriesHong Kong
South Korea
Box office$1.59 million [1] [2]

Three... Extremes (Chinese :三更2; pinyin :Sāngēng 2; Korean : 쓰리, 몬스터; RR : Sseuli, Monseuteo; Japanese : 美しい夜、残酷な朝; Utsukushī Yoru, Zankokuna Asa) is a 2004 anthology horror film consisting of three individual segments from three different East Asian countries—China, Japan, and South Korea—following the concept of its predecessor, Three (2002).


Its three segments, Dumplings, Cut, and Box, were directed by Hong Kong director Fruit Chan, South Korean director Park Chan-wook, and Japanese director Takashi Miike, respectively. Dumplings was released as a theatrical feature film the same year, and was cut down to a shorter length for its inclusion in Three... Extremes.



Aging actress Mrs. Li wants to rejuvenate her youth and beauty to attract the attention of her husband, Li, who has secretly taken a mistress behind her back. She buys dumplings from Aunt Mei, a mysterious seller who claims to be much older than she appears. However, to her disgust, she learns that the dumplings are in fact made from aborted fetuses, which Mei takes from a nearby hospital that has a secret abortion facility, as well as working as an abortion midwife herself.

Nevertheless, Mrs. Li decides to continue eating the fetus dumplings. One of them, made from a five-month-old fetus (the oldest of the aborted fetuses thus far), seems to have a positive effect on Mrs. Li's libido, yet it also causes her skin to exhibit a fishy smell. Eventually, Mei has to move out when the authorities are about to capture her. Mrs. Li, now two months pregnant despite being declared infertile earlier, is still desperate for a rejuvenation and chooses to abort her own fetus, presumably to make it into dumplings.


A successful film director has to face a night of misery when a man who appeared in all five of his films as an extra captures both him and his wife to play a deadly game. The wife, a pianist, is gagged and trapped in a system of sharp wires at her piano. The director is instructed to strangle a young girl the extra met earlier in the day, or else the extra will chop off the wife's fingers one by one every five minutes. The extra reveals that he kidnapped the couple because he is jealous that the director is able to be a rich and good man, while he is poor and abusive to his wife and son, the former of whom he murdered before the incident.

The director tries to buy time by telling stories of his infidelity, though the extra continues to chop the wife's fingers until only one remains on her left hand. The director ultimately decides to kill the young girl by strangling her. He tries, but does not quite succeed in killing her. The young girl's wig comes off and she is revealed to be a boy — the extra's son. The extra is only stopped when he slips after stepping on a bloody ring that the wife was wearing before he chopped off her ring finger. The wife then bites the extra's neck, pushing him into the wires that imprison her, leaving him bleeding to death. Traumatized and delusional, the director, now believing his wife to be the extra's son and vice versa, strangles her to death.


Kyoko, a 25-year-old novelist, frequently experiences nightmares of her past as a circus performer. Back when she was 10 years old, Kyoko worked in a circus with her twin sister Shoko and their benefactor Higata. Kyoko felt that Higata was favoring Shoko over her when he praised her after a performance. When Shoko was training, Kyoko forced and locked her into a box. However, Higata watched the incident and tried to rescue her, only for Kyoko to scar him in the face and then accidentally set the box on fire. Since then, Kyoko is haunted with guilt and wants to apologize to her sister. She is also struck uncannily by her literature publisher, Yoshii, who is a doppelgänger of Higata, except that he is more caring to her.

One day, Kyoko follows an invitation to her old circus, only to discover the box containing Shoko's burned remains. She is confronted by Higata, who is distraught after the incident and tells her that both Kyoko and Shoko are important to him, but only as one entity. After luring her into kissing him, he forces her into a plastic sack, fits it into a box, then buries it in the nearby snowy ground. However, it is revealed that the entire event of the film is just another dream of Kyoko, who in reality has been conjoined with Shoko since birth. The sisters exit the house to meet with Higata/Yoshii, both indeed the same person.





Dumplings theatrical

Three... Extremes' first film Dumplings was extended and turned into a full-length theatrical film of the same name that was released into British cinemas by Tartan Films in the spring of 2006.[ citation needed ]


Three... Extremes was theatrically released on October 28, 2005 by Lionsgate. After its release on November 17, 2005, the film has grossed $77,532 in North America and $1,516,056 in other territories, for a worldwide total of $1,593,588. [1] [2]

Critical response

Three...Extremes received generally positive reviews. Review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes gave the film an 84% approval rating based on 62 reviews, with an average rating of 6.8 out of 10; its consensus reads: "This anthology contains brutal, powerful horror stories by three of Asia's top directors." [3] Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, gave the film an average score of 66 out of 100 based on 22 reviews, indicating "generally favorable reviews". [4]

Chicago Sun-Times critic Roger Ebert praised the film by giving it 3½ stars out of 4, describing the films as "deeply, profoundly creepy", and he attributed their qualities to the works of famous horror writers Edgar Allan Poe, H.P. Lovecraft and Stephen King. [5] The New York Times ' Dana Stevens gave a positive review, writing: "Though Three Extremes[ sic ] may seem tame to jaded fans of what has been termed New Asian Horror, it serves as a fine introduction to the genre for those who are curious but squeamish." [6] The Boston Globe's Ty Burr gave a favorable review, advising viewers to "fasten your seat belts for a bumpy ride -- narratively and artistically -- and don't go in on a full stomach." [7]

Related Research Articles

<i>Flower Drum Song</i> Musical by Rodgers and Hammerstein premiered in 1958

Flower Drum Song was the eighth musical by the team of Rodgers and Hammerstein. It is based on the 1957 novel, The Flower Drum Song, by Chinese-American author C. Y. Lee. It premiered on Broadway in 1958 and was then performed in the West End and on tour. It was adapted for a 1961 musical film.

<i>Three</i> (2002 film) 2002 South Korean film

Three is a 2002 anthology horror film collaboration consisting of three omnibus segments by directors from three Asian countries. The segments are, in the following order:

<i>Dumplings</i> (film) 2004 Hong Kong horror film

Dumplings is a 2004 Hong Kong horror film, directed by Fruit Chan. It was expanded from a short segment in the horror compilation, Three... Extremes. The film is rated as Category III in Hong Kong. It premiered in Germany during the Berlin International Film Festival, on 4 August 2004, as part of the Panorama section.

<i>Ju-On: The Grudge 2</i> 2003 Japanese film

Ju-On: The Grudge 2 is a 2003 Japanese horror film and a sequel to Ju-On: The Grudge. The film was written and directed by Takashi Shimizu. It was released in Japan on August 23, 2003.

Imprint (<i>Masters of Horror</i>) 13th episode of the 1st season of Masters of Horror

"Imprint" is the thirteenth episode of the first season of Masters of Horror. Directed by Takashi Miike, the episode was scheduled to premiere on January 27, 2006, but was shelved by Showtime over concerns about its graphic and disturbing content. It was later released to DVD on September 26, 2006.

<i>The Joy Luck Club</i> (film) 1993 American film by Wayne Wang

The Joy Luck Club is a 1993 American drama film about the relationships between Chinese-American women and their Chinese immigrant mothers. It was directed by Wayne Wang and stars Tsai Chin, Kieu Chinh, Lisa Lu, France Nuyen, Rosalind Chao, Lauren Tom, Tamlyn Tomita, and Ming-Na Wen. The film is based on the 1989 novel of the same name by Amy Tan, who co-wrote the screenplay with Ronald Bass. The film was produced by Bass, Tan, Wang, and Patrick Markey, while Oliver Stone served as an executive producer. Four older women, all Chinese immigrants living in San Francisco, meet regularly to play mahjong, eat, and tell stories. Each of these women has an adult Chinese-American daughter. The film reveals the hidden pasts of the older women and their daughters, and how their lives are shaped by the clash of Chinese and American cultures as they strive to understand their family bonds and one another.

<i>Re-cycle</i> 2006 film

Re-cycle is a 2006 horror film directed by the Pang Brothers and starring Angelica Lee. The film was the closing film in the Un Certain Regard program at the 2006 Cannes Film Festival. It was also a reunion for the Pangs and the actress Lee, who starred in the Pangs' 2002 hit The Eye. It is a Hong Kong/Thai co-production.

<i>Ju-On: The Curse</i> 2000 Japanese film

Ju-on: The Curse, also known as simply Ju-on, is a 2000 Japanese V-Cinema supernatural horror film and the first installment in the Ju-on franchise, following two short films. The film was written and directed by Takashi Shimizu and is divided in six parts, chronicling the experiences of tenants of a cursed house where a man, Takeo Saeki killed his wife, Kayako, in a jealous rage. It was followed by Ju-on: The Curse 2 in the same year.

<i>All She Was Worth</i> 1992 crime novel by Miyuki Miyabe

All She Was Worth is a crime novel by Miyuki Miyabe. It was originally published under the Japanese title Kasha.

<i>Bruce Lee: The Man, The Myth</i> 1976 Hong Kong film

Bruce Lee: The Man, The Myth is a 1976 Hong Kong semi biographical martial arts film starring Ho Chung-tao and directed by Ng See-yuen. The film was released in Hong Kong on 28 October 1976.

<i>Junk</i> (film) 2000 Japanese horror film

Junk is a 2000 Japanese horror film written and directed by Atsushi Muroga. A blend of the yakuza and zombie film genres, Junk stars Kaori Shimamura as Saki, a member of a group of jewel thieves. While attempting to deliver stolen goods from a heist to another criminal gang, the thieves must fight to survive against a horde of zombies resulting from secret experiments by the United States military.

<i>Thirst</i> (2009 film) 2009 South Korean film

Thirst is a 2009 horror film written, produced and directed by Park Chan-wook. Loosely based on the 1867 novel Thérèse Raquin by Émile Zola, the film stars Song Kang-ho as Sang-hyun, a Catholic priest who turns into a vampire as a result of a failed medical experiment, and falls in love with Tae-ju, the wife of his childhood friend.

<i>Death Bell</i> 2008 South Korean film

Death Bell is a 2008 Korean horror slasher film. The only Korean horror film released over the summer of 2008, it is the first feature by former music video director Chang, who also co-wrote the screenplay. Death Bell stars Lee Beom-soo in his first horror film role, and K-pop singer Nam Gyu-ri in her acting debut. Set in a Korean high school, the film's native title refers to gosa, the important midterm exams that all students are required to sit. It is later followed by a stand-alone sequel Death Bell 2: Bloody Camp.

<i>Ocean Heaven</i> 2010 film by Xue Xiaolu

Ocean Heaven is a 2010 Chinese-Hong Kong drama film starring martial arts superstar Jet Li in his first full drama role. It also co-stars Taiwanese actress Gwei Lun-mei, who previously starred in Jay Chou's Secret. The movie was filmed in Qingdao at the Qingdao Polar Ocean World and received promotion from the Qingdao council.

<i>A Wicked Ghost II: The Fear</i> 2000 Hong Kong film

A Wicked Ghost II: The Fear is a 2000 Hong Kong horror film directed by Francis Nam, starring Joey Meng, Angie Cheung, Alice Chan, Ken Wong and Joyce Chan. It is preceded by A Wicked Ghost in 1999 and followed by A Wicked Ghost III: The Possession in 2002.

<i>Bed and Board</i> (film) 1970 film

Bed and Board is a 1970 French comedy-drama film directed by François Truffaut, and starring Jean-Pierre Léaud and Claude Jade. It is the fourth in Truffaut's series of five films about Antoine Doinel, and directly follows Stolen Kisses, depicting the married life of Antoine (Léaud) and Christine (Jade). Love on the Run finished the story in 1979.

Ghost on Air is a 2012 Singaporean horror film directed by Cheng Ding An and starred Y.E.S. 93.3FM deejay Dennis Chew. The film is released island-wide in Singapore on 17 May 2012 and released in Malaysia in June 2012.

<i>Lady of the Dynasty</i> 2015 Chinese film

Lady of the Dynasty is a Chinese epic romance war film directed by Cheng Shiqing and featuring Fan Bingbing, Leon Lai and Wu Chun. The film also had a director group including Zhang Yimou and Tian Zhuangzhuang. The film was released on 30 July 2015.

<i>Tale of Tales</i> (2015 film) 2015 film

Tale of Tales is a 2015 European fantasy horror film co-written, directed and co-produced by Matteo Garrone and starring Salma Hayek, Vincent Cassel, Toby Jones, and John C. Reilly.

<i>Wish Upon</i> 2017 American horror film

Wish Upon is a 2017 American supernatural horror film, directed by John R. Leonetti, written by Barbara Marshall, and starring Joey King, Ki Hong Lee, Sydney Park, Shannon Purser, Sherilyn Fenn, Elisabeth Rohm, and Ryan Phillippe. The film follows a teenage girl who is given a magic musicbox that grants seven wishes, but kills someone close to her each time it does.


  1. 1 2 "Three... Extremes (2005)". Box Office Mojo . Retrieved 10 March 2018.
  2. 1 2 "Three... Extremes (2004)". KoBiz - Korean Film Biz Zone. Retrieved 10 March 2018.
  3. "Three...Extremes (Saam gang yi)". Rotten Tomatoes . Retrieved September 6, 2016.
  4. "Three... Extremes". Metacritic . Retrieved September 6, 2016.
  5. Ebert, Roger (October 28, 2005). "Three... Extremes". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved September 6, 2016.
  6. Stevens, Dana (October 28, 2005). "Film in Review; Three Extremes". The New York Times. Retrieved September 6, 2016.
  7. Burr, Ty (October 28, 2005). "Terror trilogy 'Extremes' proves to be a bumpy ride". The Boston Globe. Retrieved September 6, 2016.