Three... Extremes (2004)

Three…Extremes is an Asian/International collaboration showcasing three individual horror stories. The film showcases the age-old fable of being careful what you wish for and not aspiring for too much before the characters reap a terrible outcome of their actions and misplaced desires.

The first story, Dumplings, features an actress who has passed her prime, aging and being passed over by younger more beautiful actresses. Mrs. Li is striving to regain her former beauty and regain the attention of her adulterous husband. Approaching a mystic lady she purchases the titular “Dumplings”; however, she learns a disgusting secret about their ingredients and their origin. Regardless of the disturbing contents of the dumplings, Mrs. Li continues consuming them in the hope they have the desired effect of recovering her lost beauty and vitality. Here the story takes a shocking turn where, desperate to continue regaining her youth, Mrs. Li makes a horrifying choice and ensures the perpetuation of this gruesome cycle.

Next, we have Cut, a tale of terror about a successful director and the extra who has worked many times with him previously. Fuelled by a jealous rage at the directors’ perfect life, his riches, and his popularity, the extra kidnaps the director and his wife and forces the director to choose between impossible circumstances in a deadly game. Either murdering a child unknown to him or watch on as every five minutes the crazed extra cuts of a finger from the hands of his wife. As the director desperately tries to distract his captor time begins ticking and takes a terrible toll on the directors’ sanity. As the story develops its tense narrative it becomes clear that nobody’s lives will ever be the same after this night.

Our final tale of dread is the story of Kyoko, a novelist who is haunted by her days performing in the circus with her twin, Shoko. Drawn in by nightmares of her past the viewer is shown the envy that Kyoko felt toward her sister, she feels the older man who makes money from them, Higata, is favoring Shoko at her expense. In a fit of jealous rage, Kyoko traps Shoko in a box, ultimately causing a tragic end for Shoko. In the present day, we experience Kyoko struggling with her guilt and grief and becoming dangerously drawn to the identical likeness of the man who she perceived was cruel to her as a child performer. Accepting an invitation to return to the scene of her traumatic past, Kyoko must face the consequences of her actions from a vengeful Higata. As the film twists toward the surprising conclusion viewers will be shocked by the final revelations.

The three tales in the anthology combine to deliver a singular message of being content with what we have. Demonstrating that negative desires always cause the demise of those that harbor them. Each director shows through various styles of storytelling that we reap what we sow. Despite the shared message of the anthology, the individual stories are works of art within themselves and viewers will enjoy the unique styles and story specify details within.