Three

In Lou Simon’s revenge thriller, 3, She (Aniela McGuinness) is the victim, It (Mike Stanley) is the perpetrator, and He (Todd Bruno) is justice.

It awakens as a prisoner in the basement of a desolate cabin. Enter a masked He focused on one objective: extract a confession from It. And maybe inflict a lot of pain, if possible.

He and She’s plan is perfect. No witnesses. No one knows where It was going, nor where to look. No alibis. She and He are strangers. With no connection, She is innocent for the kidnapping…and the torture. Now the hard part, get a confession.

“…makes excellent use of stretching out the tense moments as a way to torture the audience just before real torture.”

He has a certain set of skills. He is a former Army medic trained in treating severe wounds and as luck would have it, skilled in enhanced interrogation. She, on the other hand, feels responsible for the situation everyone is in. Months earlier, She was raped by It at a party. Over time, She is having problems maintaining a consistent story. All She knows for sure is her rapist is in that basement. On her word alone, He plays the role of the knight in shining armor with a penchant for sadism.

Lou Simon’s 3 is a fantastic revenge thriller. Like a good thriller, Simon masterfully inserts moments of doubt and raises questions about its innocence. She and Its account of the story change, criss-cross and weave to the point you think maybe they’re torturing the wrong guy.

“The strength of the film comes from its storytelling…”

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is real, and Simon uses it in a way that doesn’t feel exploitive at all. But let’s face facts, this is a revenge thriller. We’re here for torture, pain, and gore. Yes, It gets tortured and those moments are gory. The film makes excellent use of stretching out the tense moments as a way to torture the audience just before real torture. Michael Damon’s score makes things even tenser than it needs to be.

The strength of the film comes from its storytelling as Lou Simon masterfully balances tension, thrills, and mystery. So often the endings of thrillers feel forced, and in the case of Lou Simon’s 3, it works. It ties up loose ends and feels grounded at the same time.

3 (2017) Written and directed by Lou Simon. Starring Todd Bruno, Aniela McGuinness, and Mike Stanley.

3.5 out of 5 stars

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