3 Movie Review
Written by Joel Harley
Released by White Lotus Productions
Written and directed by Lou Simon
2017, 82 minutes, Not Rated
Horrorhound screening on 8th September 2017
Katie Carpenter as Adeline
Todd Bruno as He
Mike Stanley as It
Aniela McGuinness as She
A man and a woman kidnap her rapist, hoping to torture him into confessing to the crime. But with the rapist refuting his guilt (well, he would, wouldn’t he) and the disturbed couple He and She apparently taking turns to manipulate each other, there could well be more to the story than meets the eye. Yes, it’s the sort of movie in which the main characters don’t even have credited names on iMDB.
A low-budget psychological thriller in the vein of Hard Candy and Big Bad Wolves, 3 has both bypassed the big torture boom of the early noughties and lacks the budget to do it convincingly. That doesn’t stop writer and director Lou Simon from trying, but its scenes of physical violence are far less compelling than its mindgames and psychological trauma. It does have the best crippling sequence since Saw though, so it’s not a complete bust in that department either.
The single location and simple concept makes for easier viewing than Simon’s previous feature, All Girls Weekend, which had some strong ideas but struggled with the constraints of Indie filmmaking. 3 is equally cheap and cheerless, but the gloomy torture basement and dingy woodland cottage setting hide the cracks well. The stripped back, compelling story also hides some of the more on-the-nose writing and wooden acting (even you, doing the goofy Michael C. Hall Dexter impression). Which of the three is telling the truth, if any of them? Simon does a good job of establishing doubt and keeping the audience guessing right up until the last minute. That she does so without the film ever becoming a treatise on not believing rape survivors is admirable, and a big bullet dodged.
A rape/revenge feature centred on a possibly unreliable survivor and potentially innocent rapist is a hard sell in this day and age, and a story that, realistically, needed a woman to be told with tact and respect. Thankfully, Simon proves herself up to the task. The film handles difficult topics well, being that rare rape/revenge movie which handles the act itself with relative sensitivity. The audience’s mileage, of course, will vary, and some will understandably steer clear based on the subject matter alone. But it's not a lecture either, and the twisting, turning tale manages to maintain a good level of tension, building up to a final twist which left me reeling.
It's a shame that this and the super Indie-pendence of the production will leave it massively underseen by wider audiences. In spite of its budgetary limitations, 3 is a solid, smart piece of genre filmmaking, taking the most upsetting of subgenres and handling the matter with a rare, refreshing sensitivity and intelligence.