Seminary student Kevin Parson’s (Marc Blucas) life changes in the blink of an eye when he receives a call from a psychopathic serial killer threatening murder unless Kevin confesses his sins. Desperate, Kevin teams with a criminal psychologist (Justine Waddell) to profile the killer and solve his riddles before the madman strikes again. Best-selling author Ted Dekker’s spine-tingling novel Three is brought to the screen by X-Men producer Ralph Winter.
Hey, everyone! Listen, before we start this review we have a question. Did you see the Saw movies? Because the person who wrote this movie did!
Thr3e is a 2006 Christian horror film that’s based off the Ted Dekker novel of the same name. It stars Marc Blucas, Justine Waddell, and Laura Jordan. It’s about a college student named Kevin Parson (Marc Blucas). Kevin is writing his college thesis about good and evil when a person (who is a lot like Jigsaw) calls him up. The person tells him a riddle. Kevin rolls his eyes and says that he’s hanging up. The person says that Kevin needs to confess his sins or else his car will explode. Kevin pulls over and jumps out. He sees the word “confess” spray painted on his car, then it blows up. Kevin goes to the police to tell them about what had happened.
During his statement, Jennifer Peters (Justine Waddell) walks up asking about Kevin. We saw Jennifer when the film had opened. It was showing her getting a phone call from that same person because he didn’t like her book about evil. He threatens to blow up the car that her brother is stuck in unless she can solve his riddle. She can’t, so the car explodes. It’s ok, even though she is right next to the car when it explodes, she isn’t hurt by it. She only gets her hand cut by breaking a window in order to save her brother! Whew! Anyways, she’s interested in hearing his story and believes that they can find this man together.
Kevin goes back home and his childhood friend is there. (Laura Jordan, who plays Samantha Sheer.) Kevin tells her that he has a stalker and that she should leave. She gets worried and tells him that he should leave too. He says that he has a cop across the street watching for the stalker. Samantha says that the cop is asleep. The scene then fades to black and then fades back to…..the same scene! Yeah, so, anyways, they decide to try and find out who this guy is together. The killer calls him during that conversation and says that he’s going to kill Kevin’s childhood dog. Kevin goes back to the house where he grew up in to try and rescue his dog. There, we see that he was raised by his abusive aunt. (Priscilla Barnes, who plays Belinda Parson.) He tries to save the dog, but fails. His aunt screams at him to leave. Actually, it was more like, “LEEEEEEEAVE! LEEEEEEEAVE! LEEEEEEEAVE! LEEEEEEEAVE!”
From there, the Riddler Killer, (as they later named him) keeps trying to get Kevin to confess his sins. Kevin remembers a boy that bullied him while growing up. One night, the boy chased him into a dark building. Kevin gets out and locks the bully in there to die. He believes that the Riddle Killer is the bully that he had locked in the building. Kevin calls up a news station and confesses. The Riddle Killer isn’t happy and says that he confessed nothing and continues to torture him and everyone around him. During this time, Samantha can’t help but wonder if Kevin has something else to confess.
Should we spoil the ending so you can spend the 101 minutes learning a new language or supporting your local animal shelter? Thr3e starts off engaging enough, but it quickly becomes evident that Alan B. McElroy’s script has the feel of amateurishness. The lines are cliche’s and the exchanges are unnatural. The acting ranges from passable to laughable. The child actor who played Young Kevin is more than unconvincing and Bill Moseley’s delivery of the way below Jigsaw quality riddles practically sound ad-libbed. Priscilla Barnes in particular looks as though she’s acting her way out of one of the houses at Universal’s Halloween Horror Nights. Use that energy for theater.
The whole film feels as though it’s being made up as it goes, which is odd considering it was based on a notable book by Ted Dekker. Did the director actually care about this movie, or was he just trying to get it over with? We certainly were. The first twenty minutes, Thr3e was actually quite a fun bad movie, then it devolves into a tedious bad movie. The twist ending is somewhat clever, which is unfortunately wasted on its film.
Horror movies are much more hit and miss than their dramatic brethren, closer akin to comedies. Discuss if you like. Horror is not easy to do, which is interesting to note that most of our friends in the independent film industry choose the genre for their first outings. (Because, honestly, if you can so something as hard as horror, you’re a good filmmaker.) There is no way to disguise a horror movie’s failure. Some hit the bull’s-eye, some graze the target and some land in the grass a few feet away from the shooter. Thr3e manages to pierce the wooden leg of the target’s stand and knock it over. Funny for a moment but in the end it’s embarrassing.