Three... Extremes

Last updated
Three... Extremes
Three... Extremes film.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Fruit Chan
Park Chan-wook
Takashi Miike
Produced byAhn Soo-hyun
Peter Ho-sun Chan
Fumio Inoue
Naoki Sato
Shun Shimizu
Written byDumplings:
Lilian Lee
Park Chan-wook
Bun Saikou
Haruko Fukushima
Starring Bai Ling
Tony Leung Ka-fai
Lee Byung-hun
Im Won-hee
Kyōko Hasegawa
Atsuro Watabe
Music by Chan Kwong-wing
Kōji Endō
Peach Present
CinematographyChung Chung-hoon
Christopher Doyle
Koichi Kawakami
Release date
  • October 28, 2005 (2005-10-28)
Running time
125 minutes
CountryHong Kong
South Korea
Language Cantonese
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 international East Asian horror film collaboration consisting of three segments by three directors from three countries. It is a sequel to, and follows the concept of Three (2002), this time with more established directors.


Its first film, Dumplings, was expanded into a theatrical feature film.



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 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 while on the way, 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 boy - the extra's son. The extra is only stopped when he slips on a ring the wife was wearing before he chopped off her ring finger, and on the blood pouring from the wife's fingers. 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 in flames. 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 doppelganger 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

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>Audition</i> (1999 film) 1999 film by Takashi Miike

Audition is a 1999 Japanese horror film directed by Takashi Miike, based on the 1997 novel by Ryu Murakami. It is about a widower, Shigeharu Aoyama, whose son suggests that he should find a new wife. Aoyama agrees, and with a friend, stages a phony audition to meet a potential new partner in life. After interviewing several women, Aoyama becomes interested in Asami, who responds well to him, although as they begin to date, her dark past begins to affect their relationship.

<i>The Grudge</i> 2004 film written by Stephen Susco and directed by Takashi Shimizu

The Grudge is a 2004 supernatural horror film directed by Takashi Shimizu, written by Stephen Susco, and produced by Sam Raimi, Robert Tapert, and Takashige Ichise. A remake of Shimizu's 2002 Japanese horror film Ju-On: The Grudge, it stars Sarah Michelle Gellar, Jason Behr, KaDee Strickland, Clea DuVall, and Bill Pullman, and is the first installment in The Grudge film series which is based on the Japanese Ju-On films. Takako Fuji, Yuya Ozeki, and Takashi Matsuyama portray the characters Kayako Saeki, Toshio Saeki, and Takeo Saeki from the original films. The plot is told through a nonlinear sequence of events, and includes several intersecting subplots.

<i>The Others</i> (2001 film) 2001 film by Alejandro Amenábar

The Others is a 2001 English-language Spanish gothic supernatural psychological horror film. It was written, directed, and scored by Alejandro Amenábar. It stars Nicole Kidman and Fionnula Flanagan.

<i>Three</i> (2002 film) 2002 horror film

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

<i>Mary Reilly</i> (film) 1996 American film directed by Stephen Frears

Mary Reilly is a 1996 American horror film directed by Stephen Frears and starring Julia Roberts and John Malkovich. The movie was written by Christopher Hampton and adapted from the novel Mary Reilly by Valerie Martin.

Jordan Ladd American actress

Jordan Elizabeth Ladd is an American actress. The daughter of actress Cheryl Ladd and producer David Ladd, she initially worked with her mother in several made-for-television films, before making her big screen debut at 19, in the vampire film Embrace of the Vampire (1994). She subsequently appeared in the drama Nowhere (1997) and the comedy Never Been Kissed (1999). Ladd became known as a scream queen, having appeared in several successful horror films, including Cabin Fever (2002), Club Dread (2004), Death Proof (2007), and Grace (2009).

<i>Dumplings</i> (film) 2004 Hong Kong film directed by Fruit Chan

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 film by Takashi Shimizu

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 first 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 extremely graphic and disturbing content. It was later released to DVD on September 26, 2006.

<i>The Joy Luck Club</i> (film) 1993 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 eponymous 1989 novel 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>The Hand</i> (1981 film) 1981 film by Oliver Stone

The Hand is a 1981 American psychological horror film written and directed by Oliver Stone, based on the novel The Lizard's Tail by Marc Brandell. The film stars Michael Caine and Andrea Marcovicci. Caine plays Jon Lansdale, a comic book artist who loses his hand, which in turn takes on a murderous life of its own. The original film score is by James Horner, in one of his earliest projects. Warner Bros. released the movie on DVD on September 25, 2007.

<i>Re-cycle</i> 2006 film by Danny Pang Phat, Oxide Pang Chun

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 Pangs and the actress Lee, who starred in the Pang's 2002 hit, The Eye. It is a Hong Kong/Thai co-production.

<i>Ju-On: The Curse</i> 2000 film by Takashi Shimizu

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, and his son, Toshio, in a jealous rage. It was followed by Ju-on: The Curse 2 in the same year.

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

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

Bruce Lee: A Dragon Story also known as Super Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story and Bruce Lee Story: Super Dragon) is a 1974 Bruceploitation film starring Bruce Li. The film is a loose biopic about martial arts actor Bruce Lee and centers on his supposed affair with actress Betty Ting-Pei. The film is notable for being the first biopic of Bruce Lee, the debut film of notorious Lee imitator Bruce Li, and the first film in the Bruceploitation genre.

<i>Carved: The Slit-Mouthed Woman</i> 2007 film by Kōji Shiraishi

Carved: The Slit-Mouthed Woman is a 2007 Japanese horror film directed by Kōji Shiraishi and written by Shiraishi and Naoyuki Yokota. Based on the Japanese urban legend known as Kuchisake-onna, or "the Slit-Mouthed Woman", the film stars Eriko Sato as Kyōko Yamashita, a divorced mother and teacher who attempts to solve a series of child abduction cases with the help of her co-worker Noboru Matsuzaki, played by Haruhiko Kato.

<i>Thirst</i> (2009 film) 2009 film by Park Chan-wook

Thirst is a 2009 South Korean supernatural erotic horror film written, produced and directed by Park Chan-wook. It is loosely based on the novel Thérèse Raquin by Émile Zola. The film tells the story of a Catholic priest—who is in love with his friend's wife—turning into a vampire through a failed medical experiment. Park has stated, "This film was originally called 'The Bat' to convey a sense of horror. After all, it is about vampires. But it is also more than that. It is about passion and a love triangle. I feel that it is unique because it is not just a thriller, and not merely a horror film, but an illicit love story as well." The film won the Jury Prize at the 2009 Cannes Film Festival. It is the first mainstream Korean film to feature full-frontal male nudity.

<i>A Wicked Ghost II: The Fear</i> 2000 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.

Ghost on Air is a Singapore 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 on June 2012.


  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.